Yang Fudong: Moving Mountains
2016.12.13 – 2017.01.05
SCoP is particularly proud to host the exhibition of Yang Fudong's new work, Moving Mountains, also the latest artist commission by the Rolls-Royce Art Programme.
Moving Mountains is inspired by the ancient tale of a man, whom some called foolish, for seeking to move a mountain. Yang Fudong makes this story a poetic reflection upon human nature and the shifting values to which it can be subject, as presented in his new 46-minute black-and-white film, Moving Mountains, recently completed at the invitation of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme.
Visually, Yang Fudong took inspiration from the masterful ink painting produced in the early 1940s by Xu Beihong (1895-1953). The film mirrors the look of the painting in certain frames, and it echoes to the spirit of endurance that Xu Beihong’s work extolls. Moving Mountains continues the virtues of perseverance and willpower from this Chinese fable. Yet, it explores a new interpretation by taking the old metaphoric story of the foolish man as an outlet for recent musing. The spirit of motherhood is central and embodied in a character played by the popular actress Wan Qian.
Age old stories can be hard to tell visually; how not to be illustrative? How to transcend time and place? With Moving Mountains Yang Fudong returns to the naturalistic monochromatic palette that characterizes his oeuvre, as seen in the distinct landscape of other works like East of Que Village 2007 and Blue Kylin 2008. Blue Kylin, in particular, ruminates on the labor of workers in a stone quarry, with all the attendant environmental issues, Moving Mountains shares the weight of human unending toil, in environs that are their own closed world. Thus, with Moving Mountains the challenge Yang Fudong set himself is well met. In making the tale his own, he has produced a moving cinematic experience that is dark and poignant.
For the exhibition at SCoP, the film Moving Mountains is the focal point of a display which combines a second moving image sequence, this time in color, together with multiple elements from the production process.
It is particularly rewarding for SCoP, as a young institution, to partner with Rolls-Royce, a company that like SCoP values the role it can play of enabling artists to realize new projects and to explore new areas of their practice. Since our launch, SCoP has played host to seven exhibitions covering diverse aspects of photographic endeavor in distinctly different ways. These have included some of the most well-known masters of the art. From 20th century innovators like Alfred Steiglitz to contemporary figures like Cindy Sherman; from pioneering agencies like Magnum to China's Xinhua News Agency, we have worked with widely respected photo-journalists like Bruno Barbey, Ian Berry and Wang Shilong. Our major survey of photography in China, "Grain to Pixel" was equally successful on its tour of Melbourne and Brussels in 2016.
Partnerships like this, with Rolls-Royce, enable us to set our standards high and continue this extraordinary journey from the heart of Shanghai's burgeoning West Bund Art District.
We are also delighted to have this opportunity to work with our new neighbor at West Bund, the well-established ShanghArt Gallery, which represents Yang Fudong and has supported his artistic endeavor from his first film Estranged Paradise, 1997/2002.
Yang Fudong is an artist and cinematographer whose work is internationally celebrated. He began working with film in the late 1990s producing his first feature Estranged Paradise in 1997/2002. He has since produced a major body of film work and multi-screen installations. These largely explore the socio-cultural paradigm of contemporary China with a particular focus on the experience of his own generation and characters that find themselves at odds with society. To date Yang Fudong’s works have been exhibited world-wide.