Infinite Landscape

Yang Yongliang


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Object Detail

video animation (black and white, sound)
7 min 23 sec
Yang Yongliang’s animated landscapes appear to be screen-based versions of traditional vistas of mountains and waterfalls. It takes a moment to realise that they are in constant motion: his ‘mountains’ are actually overlapping stacks of city skyscrapers, punctuated by electricity pylons. The misty peaks receding into the far distance are in reality hidden by the smog of industrial pollutants. Infinite Landscape, for instance, is criss-crossed by freeways bearing tiny cars and trucks. Cable cars swing on lines between the cliffs, and cranes reach upwards into a grey sky. An army of construction workers labours in the foreground, where bulldozers and pile drivers are creating a new landscape. A dirigible crosses the sky slowly before silently exploding, leaving no trace behind. The artist has said he feels ‘despair and sadness’ at what has been lost in the relentless modernisation of his home city of Shanghai, but his works are not intended to represent just this specific location. Yang Yongliang is interested in the broad impact of globalisation; the cities he represents could, in the end, be anywhere or everywhere in the modern world. Each of Yang Yongliang’s animated works is made up of between ten and twenty thousand high-resolution still images, all shot by the artist himself from elevated vantage points on demolition sites in cities such as Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong and Chongqing. Additionally, twenty to thirty moving video images are required to layer into the final work, which can take more than three months of patient, exacting post-production labour. Yang Yongliang believes he is not unlike the ancient scholar painters, working carefully and slowly with their ink stones and brushes. He does not see a significant difference between his continuing practice of calligraphy and his work with animation and photographic software, except for the added dimension of time: the philosophy is constant, only the medium is different.
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