Yang adds modern touch to ink

Updated: 2014-07-15 10:20

By Xiao Xiangyi (China Daily)

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Yang adds modern touch to ink

Yang Ermin is holding his solo show in Lodeve in southern France, showcasing his years of dedication to the exploration of Chinese ink paintings. Photos Provided to China Daily

Yang adds modern touch to ink


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"I was so bored with some of the lifeless stereotypes that were being used. I was miserable," Yang says of his earlier days.

Then he embraced the avant-garde "New Wave Movement" that flourished in China between 1985 and 1989. The movement was the beginning of a process to reinvent Chinese art that had been eroded by decades of political turmoil, during which China had been effectively cut off from the rest of the art world.

Li Xiaoshan, an art theorist and critic of the time, published what he called his "view of contemporary ink-and-wash painting", in which he wrote that this most traditional of Chinese practices had effectively died. He described how "enormously disturbing" that would be to modern art.

Li's words moved Yang.

"People were still drawing the same things that painters drew in the 18th or 19th century. They were drowned in tradition. But art should never be allowed to lag behind society," Yang adds.

Yang remembers talking to a vegetable vendor, who realized he was a painter and who told him that he did not like ink painting.

"I was shocked when he told me that it was just too difficult to understand. He said he loved the bright colors of oil painting. I was shocked because he said he felt that ordinary Chinese people were abandoning their own culture and embracing Western art. The cornerstone of our very own art world was collapsing."

But Yang did not immediately turn to oil and stuck to his roots. He worked with ink, painting brush and rice paper and other such Chinese-made material. Although some people who viewed his work may have thought that Yang had used oil, acrylic or watercolor.