Paper Chase – Presents from Rauschenberg

Artist: Ye Yongqing

2017.4.7 – 2017.6.23

From 7 April to 23 June 2017, KWM art center is delighted to present a solo exhibition of works on paper by Ye Yongqing entitled “Paper Chase – Presents from Rauschenberg”. Including over eighty works on paper, it covers 20 years of Ye Yongqing’s creative output. There will be twenty-eight works in the show created on a special edition paper manufactured by American artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008) in China in 1982. Also Ye Yongqing will be onsite creating one large new art work during the exhibition. This site specific work is inspired by Ye Yongqing’s understanding of “paper” as a material. By using paper, he is not restricted to a studio space to express himself. Paper gives him the freedom to move from place to place allowing him the experience of freedom which he can then represent. Ye believes that as paper is easily portable it carries connotations of freedom recalling how in ancient China, many traditional master literati paintings on paper were started, worked on or completed while the artist was on the move.

The Chinese title ‘Dun’ refers to an ancient and mystical Taoist form of teleportation. Ye often alludes to the idea of escaping or disappearing through a medium, in this case, paper. The English title ‘Paper Chase’ comes from a 14th century English game of the same name. It is a travelling game played outdoors where the discovery of clues in the form of pieces of paper left in the countryside leads one from point a to b. Ye Yongqing sees each work in the exhibition as a demonstration of, and clue to, his attainment of freedom. Ye Yongqing’s use of the Rauschenberg paper in a number of works is not simply concerned with historically referencing the past. It embodies the inspiration given to him by Rauschenberg to combine the arts, playfulness, life and travelling into his art works.

In the exhibition there are seven different series of works. Each of the works in the exhibition convey both the mysterious characteristics of ‘Dun’, “disappearing/escaping” and the innocent and humorous spirit of the game “Paper Chase”. Particularly note worthy are the Manyoshu series, the collaged manuscripts and the paper bag series. Ye Yongqing uses simple circles and dots that resemble leaves in the Manyoshu series. The Japanese word ‘manyoshu’ translated into Chinese is 10,000 Ye. ’Ye’ means leaves in Chinese. Leaves always look the same on first sight, but different when you take a second closer look. In these works Ye is looking for a similar effect: the fact that every mark has its uniqueness hiding under superficial similarities.

There are a number of collaged manuscripts in the exhibition using public symbols such as red crosses and arrows. Ye wishes to personalise these public symbols by incorporating them into his visual arrangement. These symbols almost begin to take on the illusion of being Ye’s own secret coded language.

The Paper bag series are made on discarded paper bags selected from the artists own rubbish. Each Paper bag already has a complete and obvious commercial design attached to it, but its social function finishes when the commodity is taken out leaving the surface design still intact. Ye Yongqing enjoys deconstructing and destroying their original commercial purpose. However, Ye is cognisant of the irony that while he is re-purposing the original use and integrating it into his own visual language, the final result could be re-used as its original function.

The nine colours selected to cover the exhibition walls reflect the colour commonalities between Ye Yongqing’s work on paper over the past 20 years. The scheme serves to bring the audience closer to the key components that make Ye Yongqing’s art work so unique and demonstrate how simplicity of colour can be the key to producing works of timelessness.

About the Artist

Ye Yongqing was born in 1958 in Kunming,Yunnan Province in China. He graduated in 1982 from the Oil painting department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing. He is a professor at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute.

His work has been exhibited in many cities in China, Singapore, Europe and the US. Ye Yongqing’s recent solo exhibitions include:OVERGROWN GARDEN – Ye Yongqing 2016, Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2016; OVERGROWN GARDEN Sequel – Ye Yongqing, LONGMONT ART PROJECT, Shanghai, 2016; Gilded Age – The Wanderings of Ye Yongqing, Asia Art Center, Beijing, 2015; Ocher Stone Album: Ye Yongqing’s Recent Works, Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu,2012; Ye Yongqing Broken Flow, Yuz foundation, Jakarta, 2011.

Exhibition Works

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