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Yang Jiechang (杨诘苍)

100 Layers of Ink

1991

96 cm (h) x 65 cm (l)

Mixed Media on Canvas

In his series "100 Layers of ink" he subverts the technique as well as the aesthetic appearance of Chinese painting by obsessively putting layers on layers of ink, thus creating a black object that does neither show skill, nor imagery, nor personality. In fact, one can consider this a deconstruction of Chinese painting and its tradition into its basic elements: paper, water, ink, as well as the action of applying it to the paper. However, the elimination of skill, imagery and personality is nothing less than the sublimation of the self, the ultimate aim of the cultivation of personality the Chinese literati practised through painting and calligraphy and it therefore also closely relates Yang Jiechang's painting to Taoist thought and to the Chinese tradition. Yang Jiechang's painting thus offers through the practise of traditional values, through the aspect of self-sublimation and deconstruction of the ego, as Hou Hanru mentions, a valuable and interesting approach to the contemporary context of the post-structuralist search for alternative concepts of a cultural or personal identity.
Text by Martina Koeppel-Yang

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