Blue Room is more than just the title of this exhibition. It also describes the atmosphere within the exhibition hall, and encompasses the plight of all living things in nature.
— Yang Shaobin
Inspired by the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, Yang Shaobin began collecting news clippings of stories of individuals gravely affected by pollutions or natural disasters. He transformed his research into “Blue Room”, a visual essay juxtaposing portraits of the powerful and the powerless, confronting us with the tragic consequences caused by the willful ignorance of mankind. “Blue Room” was first shown in 2010 at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. The exhibition is shown for the first time outside of China at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.
The exhibition by Chinese artist Yang Shaobin deals with the issue of responsibility – of taking responsibility and being held responsible. We enter a room of large, blue paintings, half-dissolved figures staring back at us from the canvases. Faces of well-known world leaders emerge, including US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. These well-known faces hang side by side with portraits of completely unknown adults and children, all victims of pollution and natural disasters.
In this exhibition Yang Shaobin creates an encounter between the powerless, the powerful and the rest of us who look on. Caught in the crossfire of these gazes one has difficulty remaining a spectator, for the paintings stare back, questioning, excusing and accusing. Standing face to face with another human imposes obligations. “Blue Room” creates a meeting where we are given the opportunity to feel just that.
About the artist
Yang Shaobin, b. 1963, lives and works in Beijing. Yang Shaobin became part of the emerging Chinese art scene in the 1990s. His sociocritical paintings deal with subjects like violence, oppression and poverty, globally as well as locally, as also seen in his depictions of the working conditions of Chinese coalminers.
Yang Shaobin previously showed at ARKEN in the 2009 group exhibition CHINAMANIA.
About the exhibition
Duration: 22 JUNE – 22 SEPTEMBER 2013
Venue: ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
Courtesy of the artist and Long March Space, for further information please visit www.arken.dk.