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"Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest"
1-5 parts films in black & white
In cooperation with ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai.
08.05. - 28.06.2009
3,14 presents a solo exhibition with renowned Chinese artist Yang Fudong. We are proud to show all his 5 films in the Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest series, and being one of only a handful of institutions worldwide showing the artist's masterpiece Seven Intellectuals in the Bamboo Forest in its entirety.
This five-part black-and-white cinematic masterpiece references the legendary Seven Sages, a group of 3rd-century Chinese intellectuals who distanced themselves from government service to take up an existence of Daoist-inspired reflection and heavy drinking in the countryside. Their legendary rebellion has long been depicted in traditional East Asian art.
The films are shot over a period of five years in China, mostly in Shanghai, Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest is imbued with an avant-garde, film noir aesthetic. Neither time nor location is specified, and scenery is alternately urban and rural. The films offer a glimpse into the contradictions and uncertainties facing China's urban youth today. The works depict the new experience of modernity in China while also illustrating universal themes of isolation and alienation.
Part I is about a trip to the Yellow Mountain. The 7 young people are greatly touched by the beautiful scenery. At the beginning of the film, the seven characters appear naked. They dress themselves in business attire and begin to wander around in the dreamlike atmosphere. All kinds of thoughts about life come to them.
2003, 29´32” single video from 35 mm b&w film transferred to DVD.
Cast: Xiang Fei, Zhou Yin, Cheng Ran, Xu Jing, Dai Zhe, Chen Zhongzhu, Hu Dongyong. Music: Jin Wang. Screenplay: Ling Yunyun. Cinematography: Yang Fudong. Filmed in Huangshan, Anhui province.
Part II exposes closed city life in a noisy metropolis, such as Shanghai. The 7 young people live in the city, but seem to have little connection with the city. The characters are shown mostly in an apartment, eating and drinking and discussing desire, sexuality, life and death.
2004, 46´15” single video from 35 mm b&w film transferred to DVD.
Cast: Xiang Fei, Su Mei, Cheng Ran, Yu Bo, Xu Jing, Dai Zhe, Chen Zhongzhu, with Fan Mingzhu and Xu Zhen. Music: Jin Wang. Screenplay: Ling Yunyun. Cinematography: Yang Fudong. Sound: Huang Xun. Filmed in Shanghai.
Part III The 7 young people try to change their identity and have a different life. They choose to live in China's Southwestern villages, where they can get closer to nature, and to their own hearts. It begins with the shocking image of the beheading of an ox. The ox plays a key role in this part of the film as both a sacrificial animal and as a symbolic connection to the land.
2006, 53´ single video from 35 mm b&w film transferred to DVD.
Cast: Fu Bingbing, Huang Xiaolu, Cheng Ran, Li Shenghua, Zhou Yi, Xu Jing, Yang Ke. Cin-ematography: Xu Wei. Sound: Huang Xun. Art direction: Liu Weijian. Still photography:Zhu Li, Filmed in Jingning, Zhejiang province.
Part IV is composed of random scenes that depict two incarnations of the seven intellectuals: as rural fisherman hard at work and as a group of travelers wandering in a new locale. In Chinese legend, there is an island of Peach Blossoms—the very ideal place to live, where ones thoughts can fly freely.
2007, 70´ single video from 35 mm b&w film transferred to DVD.
Cast: Gao Yanqing, Cheng Ran, Li Shenghua, Xu Jing, Dai Zhe, Huang Lu, Kong Chenliang. Cin-ematography: Xu Wei. Sound: Huang Xun. Art direction: Liu Weijian. Still photography:Zhu Li, Filmed in Weihai, Shandong province; Xiangshan and Yushan Island, Zhejiang province.
Part V is about the return to the city and to reality. The 7 young people live in the city and identifies with it. They are shown drinking in a banquet hall, and as the scenes take on an increasingly surrealistic tone, the nonsensical seems to be analogized with the nature of urban life.
2007, 91´41” single video from 35 mm b&w film transferred to DVD.
Cast: Gao Yanqing, Cheng Ran, Li Shenghua, Xu Jing, Dai Zhe, Ni Keyun, Chen Zhongzhu, Su Mei, Huang Lu, Huang Xiaolu, Fu Bingbing, Zhou Yi, Yu Bo, with an appearance by Coco. Cinematog-raphy: Wang Yi. Art direction: Ye Linghan, Liu Weijian. Sound: Huang Xun. Lighting: Wu Song. Still photography:Jiang Pengyi, Music: Zuoxiao Zuzhou and Chen Shanni. Filmed in Shanghai.
Yang Fudong was born in 1971 in Beijing and lives and works in Shanghai. Yang initially studied painting at the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou. While still at school, he developed an interest in photography and film. He is self-taught in both media and quickly excelled in their practice. His works are filled with psychological and existential questions.
Stylistically, his videos, which are originally shot on 35mm film, recall both the black-and-white prewar films of the 1930s and 1940s and postwar avant-garde film noir. Yet, any perceivable references to past film traditions seem to be largely subconscious on the part of the artist, and stem from his love of film. Yang is an avid watcher of films of all genres, which has given him a massive creative base from which to conjure up his own vision.
Yang Fudong has participated in prestigious international art exhibitions including Su Zhou Museum (2019); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2017); Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (2016); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2013); Tate Liverpool (2007); Tate Modern (2004); Centre Pompidou (2003). His works also included in La Biennale de Lyon (2013); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013); 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); 52nd International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale (2007); The 5th AsiaPacific Triennial (2006); FACT Liverpool Biennial (2004); 50th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale (2003); Documenta 11 (2002); 4th Shanghai Biennale (2002); 7th International Istanbul Biennial (2001) etc.
He had solo-shows at most acclaimed institutions and galleries, such as Dawn Breaking, Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai (2018); Moving Mountains, Shanghai Center of Photography, Shanghai (2016); Twin Tracks: Yang Fudong Solo Exhibition, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2015); The Light That I Feel, SALT outdoor video installation, Sandhornoya, Norway (2014); Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise, Works 1993-2013, The Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2013); Quote Out of Context, Solo Exhibition of Yang Fudong, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai (2012); One Half of August, Yang Fudong Solo Exhibition, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London, U.K. (2011); Yang Fudong: Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest and Other Stories, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (2010); Dawn Mist, Separation Faith, Yang Fudong's Solo Exhibition, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai (2009); Yang Fudong: the General's Smile, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2008); Yang Fudong: Don't worry, it will be better..., Kunsthalle, Wien, Austria (2005); Yang Fudong, Castello di Rivoli Museo d'arte contemporanea, Torino, Italy (2005); Five Films, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, U.S.A (2004) etc.
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