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Yang Yongliang (b. 1980, Shanghai) is a multi-media artist working in painting, photography, video and virtual reality. His long career has taken him from traditional Chinese ink painting to graphic designing the urban development issues of Chinese mega-cities. His work has been exhibited in countless galleries museums around the world, with solo exhibitions in the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum to the Nevada Museum of Art and are in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Saatchi Gallery amongst many others. For GAD's inaugural issue Street Futures I had the pleasure to interview Mr. Yongliang and his views on street art and Shanghai's urban landscape.
The following is an extract of the interview. For the full interview, please refer to GAD's Issue 01 Street Futures, out in February 2018.


Sophie Arni: By mixing modern cityscapes with traditional Chinese painting compositions, your work hints at two belief systems: Capitalism and Buddhism. Do you think Shanghai holds a dichotomy between spirituality and consumerism?

Yang Yongliang: That’s a big question. I was personally affected between the spiritual versus commercial aspect of my work, when I was working with commercial design. After two years, it became too much to me. I wanted to return a purer and freer form of creation.

My hometown is Shanghai, and I can definitely feel a conflict between the quiet peaceful landscape that I paint and the immediate chaos of the city. The conflict between the peaceful culture of Confucius times and the anxiety of global capitalism is something that can be felt but is not obvious in Shanghai. There isn’t a huge clash between tradition and modernity here because a lot of Chinese Buddhist and dynastic history has been lost. There hasn’t been any century-old, wooden buildings or temples preserved. China is experiencing a fast development today but there is a weak link to its long history.

Sophie Mayuko Arni, December 2017, Shanghai.
All of the images were courtesy of the artist.
For the full interview, refer to GAD Mag Issue 01, Street Futures, 'Artist Interview: Yang Yongliang'.
Copyright Global Art Daily, 2017.