“House of Cards” is a popular American drama adapted from the UK novel of the same name and it is well known for its “political struggle”. “House of Cards” is literally understood as “the use of cards to build a house”, extended to be something with a thin foundation, and may collapse easily. “House of Cards” Huang Yong’s solo exhibition highlights the “Grand Banquet” series, to present this series of works in the form of cards, and it is named the “House of Cards” because the game which is a metaphor of the works, has a position within the trick game of the American drama “House of Cards” in a sense.
On October 22, 2017, Huang Yong’s pastel exhibition of “House of Cards” debuted at Beijing Daqian Contemporary Art Center. The exhibition is curated by Associate Professor Liu Libin from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and Prof. Yu Ding, Dean of the Institute of Arts Administration and Education at CAFA who serves as the Academic Chair. Honored guests who attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition included Su Xinping, Vice President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Wang Yanling, Chairman of 798 Culture and Arts Co., Ltd., Wu Hongliang, Vice President of Beijing Fine Art Academy, and Tao Wei, Executive Director of Sheng Jia Xi He Cultural Industry Group.
Painting My Own Landscapes
The exhibition features 83 works of 7 series, including “Come On”, “The North Wind”, “Fengze Lake”, “Manuscripts”, “Silently Proverbs”, “Support”, and “Grand Banquet”. It can be said that Huang Yong’s works are not the same, with no fixed image and form, but all are produced from the experience of life and the self-understanding of the world. “Come On” series of inspiration comes from daily life issues, among them his representative work “Come On” gives people a sense of oppression, people encounter a lot of problems in life, but they have to accept them. Come on, I accept what life gives me, which seems to be Huang Yong’s self-declaration, and as this is straightforward, it is announced to the spectator. Huang Yong has painted many sets of “Manuscripts” series of works, which is a metaphor for the privacy of the manuscripts as a form of painting. In Huang Yong’s understanding, people respect every individual in a postmodern context, while the creation of the “Manuscript Series” just confirms the privacy.
“The North Wind” and “Fengze Lake” series depicts the northern dry wind and the southern beautiful scenery. Living alternately in the south and the north over the past few decades, Huang Yong feels deeply that everything is changing, but the dry north wind and the bright & beautiful southern scenery have never changed. What he wants to do is to use the means of painting to express his feelings. Prof. Zhao Li, from the Central Academy of Fine Arts believes that Huang Yong’s paintings of “landscape” only borrow the world, which is unsymmetrical with true nature, so that, he painted his own inner world, and his own scenes.
At the site of the exhibition, “Silent Proverbs” and “Support” series of works are on show on the opposite walls, while the former has a rhythmic taste with a sense of time, depicting the people, ghosts, demons, gods, immortals in the three boundaries; opposite to the three boundaries, it is the Buddha boundary, “Support” series that showcases five portraits of Buddha finished using pastels, showing a true sense that oil painting and watercolor can’t finish, giving people a perception of yellow sand, the changes of the sun & moon, wind. Originally created in 2006, “Grand Banquet” series is considered as the main work of this exhibition, featuring a total of 54 works, in the form of cards that present an atmosphere that offers the audience and artist a dialogue with the game of cards, which organically conveys the artist’s life perception and his thoughts on life with the use of “cards”.
Pastel Melted into the Painting
Huang Yong is very fond of pastel painting, so has been insisting on the creation using pastels. His old classmate and colleague Prof. Yu Ding believes that Huang Yong is a painter who stayed true to his mission, tempering forward.
Huang Yong was inspired by traditional Chinese painting, and he has adjusted paper substance to realise the possibility of a mixture that is permeable for pastel colors, and finally gained a formula of “handmade paper” after experimenting. All the works on display are drawn by Huang Yong on handmade paper made by the artist. In the opinion of the curator, Huang’s choice of pastels to create his art has two levels of reason, both accidental and inevitable. Painting them with the colors exactly as they are, the objects depicted with pastel are both accurate and direct. It shortens the distance between his hand and the special handmade paper so that the radius of his hand’s motion is shorter and closer to his heart. It is easier for the artist to form an intimate space with his art. Excluding the design of the background, the features are more prominent and the artist’s attitude of ‘to investigate things is to attain knowledge’ becomes more direct.
“Grand Banquet” in the “House of Cards”
Since ancient times, food has been the paramount necessity of people. So far, the food supply is no longer the main problem we face, while the spiritual food supply seems to have been put on the agenda. It is a question thought of by Huang Yong, so he had the original idea of creating of the “Grand Banquet” with this thought in mind. “Game” has a hidden metaphor in this series of works, once there is food there is a game. Huang Yong believes that the combination of food and games form a close and alienated distance and space for the viewer to perceive. Liu Libin believes that: the foods painted by Huang have the slightest of details, and are so real and vivid with a breath of life that the audiences drool over in front of them. At the moment when the players deal, a sense of loss combines with trembles of the tongue and stomach rumbles. All kinds of feelings come up during the gaming and planning. Inside or outside, entrance or exit, the delicious foods on the cards become seductive so that players never seem to reach the goal.
As the curator Liu Libin writes in the preface reading, cards in the house, House of Cards, the extracts are of a complicated interpersonal social significance. Taking only one ladle of water from the ocean; concentrating only on one thing among all the fabulous. In the card games where wisdom and slyness intertwine, Huang Yong has elaborately presented a fancy cloak of delicacy. Or maybe it is rather his sense of wisdom and humor towards life, up or down, rise or fall.
Text by Yang Zhonghui, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO