Cigarette Ash Landscape

Yang Yongliang


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Object Detail

giclee print on fine art paper, artificial turf, silk, bamboo, wire, acrylic paint
hanging cigarette 507 x 43 x 43 cm
flower bed 60 x 250 x 250 cm
Cigarette Ash Landscape extends Yang Yongliang’s repeated motif of dystopian mountainous cityscapes in the form of a sculptural installation. The end of a giant, partly-smoked cigarette is formed by a roll of tightly-wrapped digital prints. The jagged edges of skyscrapers form the burned edge of the cigarette paper; the lengthening ash is reminiscent of the cigarettes nonchalantly smoked by old men riding their bicycles through the streets of Shanghai. A pile of ‘ash’ lies below the cigarette, mixed with grass and flowers made of paper. The flowers are poppies – beautiful, yet containing within them the potential for destructive addiction. For some viewers, these fragile paper flowers may evoke the Opium Wars of the nineteenth century, and the colonial humiliation of China. Others may recall the tragic results of Mao Zedong’s ‘One Hundred Flowers’ campaign of 1956-7, that led to the imprisonment and exile of thousands of intellectuals and artists. For Yang Yongliang, however, the key metaphor is modernity. We are addicted to the seductive shiny appeal of its edifices, but at what cost? The monochromatic grey shades of his landscapes suggest the subtle tonalities of Chinese ink, but also the clouds of smog that now blanket most Chinese cities.
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