Huang Yong Ping
b. 1954, Xiamen, China
Huang Yong Ping was born in Xiamen in 1954, he lives and works in Paris.
Huang belongs to the first generation of Chinese contemporary artists that renounced the state`s propaganda art and the traditional, formal conventions that dominated Chinese art, and preferred to draw inspiration from Western avant-garde art. Huang was a member of “Xiamen Dada”, a radical artists’ group that was founded in 1986, which was inspired by the connections between European Dadaist art and Chinese Chan Buddhism. Huang was included in the influential exhibition Magiciens de la Terre in Paris in 1989, while the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre were taking place in his homeland. He decided not to return to China and sought exile in France, where he has lived ever since. While Huang’s art arises from an awareness of Western avant-garde art, he often draws his motifs and materials from both Chinese and global cultural heritage. One of the key issues he addresses in his artistic practice is the position of the individual within an institutionalised context, a topic he often renders visual by depicting buildings that represent power.
The work Colosseum presents one of the foremost symbols of the Roman Empire, the almost 2000 years old amphitheatre Colosseum, renowned for its bloody gladiator fights, that today is one of Rome’s most important sights. The sculpture is made of clay, an ancient construction material that has a long tradition within Chinese art. Clay was used in China as early as 8000 years ago, long before the Romans built up their empire. The building is overgrown with trees and plants, and is depicted as an abandoned structure that has been taken over by nature. The work is a powerful portrayal of the fragility of power, the fall of empires and the abiding interplay between nature and civilisation.