Yang Xu 🦄
Yang Xu (b. 1996, Shandong, China). Graduated with 1st Class Honours in BA Painting Wimbledon College of Arts (2018), MA Painting at Royal College of Art (2018-20).
Xu is the Vice Chairman of UK - China Photography Association. Winner of Barbican Arts Group Trust Artwork Open 2019 with following solo exhibition ‘100 Carat Diamond’ (2020). Xu has been nominated in many prizes including Contemporary Young Artist (2020), The Signature Art Prize (2019). She received the Highly Commended award at the Air Gallery Open (2019) and On the Mountain We Stay Residency (2019) supported by No Space Organisation in China. She was also shortlisted for the Clyde & Co Art Award (2018) and Whitechapel Gallery First Thursday University Competition (2017). Xu has contributed to collaborative art projects ‘Imaging Technologies’ With Painting Research team of Wimbledon College of Arts at Tate Modern (2017) and ’Here she Comes’ with Monster Chetwynd at Royal Festival Hall (2016). Her works are collected in China and Europe. View CV
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I am exploring my personal interests, childhood fantasies, fetish and identity through painting, digital & film photography and mixed medias. I am looking into history, finding the things that are a part of our nature, like sugar - addictive but we might like to shy away from - sexuality and body.
I consider our actions are based on the actions that we have seen, under a constructed identity we put masks on and act with free will. This performativity nature of my work allows me to use my body to bring fantasies into reality.
Rococo was a playful and mysterious episode in the history of painting. From the french revolution onward, the period was seen as void, lavish and corrupt. With its privileging of power and gender stereotype, Rococo is buried under the weight of 20th century moral disciplines. I want to resuscitate it to speak to our contemporary moment. How we engage with celebrities or reality TVs and how we turned life into stage play through Instagram.
I attempt to uncover Rococo’s elaborate and extravagant style in paintings through playful brushstrokes. I paint my works layer by layer with smudges and touches. All those different twists are used to feel the creaminess of the oil paint as it slides onto the textile—like applying icing on a cake, they are sickening but delicious. Rococo is such a maligned art form, but it is underpinned by idealisations, hopes and dreams we should have access to.
The emptiness in the mirror around the figure and dark background brings loneliness, tension and a sense of danger. The space is private, explores what women can do. Her face is blurred, or covered by a mask. She could be anyone, or anyone could be her. This is my alter-ego and portrays a ‘self’ as a skin for anyone to put on.
I believe in the power of the universe and the possibilities that open up when we let our imaginations run free. I can never get lost because I always have myself, but sometimes, I want to have some fabulousness.