Time lingers through the woodlands covered by vegetation. I stand between the shadow and light of flowery springs and fruitful autumns, feeling the motion and stillness of this place.
- Ye Yongqing, 2016
Following the widely-acclaimed debut of Overgrown Garden - Ye Yongqing 2016, a special presentation by Longmen Art Projects in the Insights section of Art Basel Hong Kong this March, Overgrown Garden Sequel - Ye Yongqing 2016 will be presented at Longmen Art Projects in Shanghai, reproducing the abundant colours of art.
Using his familiar motif of small, intricate, criss-crossing strokes to stitch together broader strokes on the seemingly bare canvas, Ye constructs a dichotomy of Western expression and Chinese literati sentiments. From afar, the strokes come together to portray a freehand sketch of birds and landscapes; it is only upon close inspection that the viewer realizes the artist's persistent and strenuous methods to appreciate his overwhelming repetitive tenacity.
Overgrown Garden alludes to the classical Chinese Mustard Seed Garden Picture Album, which allows one to see but not necessarily learn. It is a dreamland, a secret garden that Ye has been contemplating since 2010. Completed in 2012 and 2014, respectively, Ye's Ocher and Hidden in the Grass series marked the beginnings of a new era of artistic creation. For the creating era of Overgrown Garden, Ye Yongqing comments:
Overgrown Garden is a small yard in Yunnan, gradually forming from merely a blueprint on paper to a water-and-soil construction, which moved to an actual location. Although so far there are no vegetation nor birds to be found, yet it does not prevent me from imagining the look of that garden and strolling inside, either in my mind or my tender dreams. Before the reaping season of an abundance of fruit harvest in the Hong River valley and the completion of the garden, planting trees and grass for flowers' blossom and birds habitation on my canvas cultivates into a company and an intriguing growth to me, with the existence of grass, wood, flowers, and birds; a garden is automatically made up right away - thinking, building, brushing, and reading, gradually transforming into a footpath."
The footpath eventually leads elsewhere in yesterday, tomorrow or reality, doesn't it? The things we have never achieved, and the places we have dreamed to be would always arrive in advance within words and paintings; the dreams have been realized in books and imaginations since the very beginning.
Unlike his early works, the recent creation of Overgrown Garden - Ye Yongqing 2016 stays closer to present his current artistic introspection from the ecological environment in the garden of overgrown weeds and the peacefulness and freedom of living with mountains and streams, gorgeous flowers, and fascinating birds; both ancient and modern, complicated and simple, Eastern and Western. Ye Yongqing has always loved to travel, and he moves and stops as years go by, but the place he could never leave behind has always been this Overgrown Garden, a secret garden that is mysterious yet full of earnest emotions, and usually attracts the curiosity of those passing by.
The artist summarizes and invites the audience of this exhibition: "Far away from Yunnan's typical red clay, this exhibition is a diary of this pleasing experience. People may find it appealing to join me in my 'study', and catch a glimpse of what the future holds."