poster of-a-short-history-of-everything by Dong Yuan at Yang Gallery

After three year’s work, and through 855 paintings ranging from massive to miniscule in size, up and coming artist Dong Yuan imagines the unlikely marriage between a Western fantasy universe and rural Chinese peasant life. Pots and pans, household furniture and electronics, and candles and a shrine get mixed up with a host of curious and strange creatures and a surreal landscape. Dong creates a comprehensive and lively world in which everything has its own role and position. The solid and generous earth gives yield to apples and rice, while the vast and boundless heavens play home to both celestial beings and fiends alike, each with their own place. Part of Dong Yuan’s world takes inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights-with spirits, monsters, and other weird and wonderful creatures dancing across a fantastic backdrop. Another part of this world however is Dong’s grandmother’s space. Beside her dim but cheery hearth are statues of the gods of happiness, prosperity, and longevity, while the bedroom and parlor are full of furniture, teacups, New Year pictures, and books. Dualistic oppositions cease to exist in this universe-ritual and reality, and tradition and the transcendental coincide seamlessly, as metaphysical thought and religious ideas intermingle with the homespun and unsophisticated.

For Dong Yuan, her grandmother’s house represents the site of her earliest memories and ideas about the world, as well as the most simple and secure of possible lifestyles and experiences. The extraordinary universe created by Bosch meanwhile-the father of European surrealist art-addresses the deep desire of all artists to move beyond the mundane. Through a collection of images of various sizes, Dong Yuan collages her memories of her grandmother’s house and brings them to life again. Using the same method, she recreates Bosch’s garden, this time taking his characters out of their original terrain and putting them on the smoky and grey plane of everyday life.

Dong’s work brings the Eastern god of money to the side of a Western judge, and puts China’s Goddess of Mercy next to the Bible’s Adam. On July 13, 2013, in Beijing’s 798 Art District, Dong Yuan’s grandmother’s house and Bosch’s magical garden come together in a mesmerizing clash of time and space, and cross-cultural visual feast that can’t be missed.

About the exhibition

Duration: Jul 13 – Aug 21, 2013

Venue: Gallery Yang

Opening: Jul 13, 2013 Sat 4:00pm

Curator: Wei Xing

Chief Project Manager: Chen Meiling

Tel: 010-59789491

Add: No.20, East of 798 Originality Square, B District in 798 Art Zone, No.2 Jiu Xianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Yang, for further information please visit

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