Yan Pei-Ming: You maintain a sense of balance in the midst of great success
Opening on May 14, 2007, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Chinese artist Yan PeiMing, who divides his time between Shanghai, China and Dijon, France. In 2006, Yan Pei-Ming was the subject of a oneperson exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Saint-Étienne, France. He had solo exhibitions at the Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (both 2005); Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany (2004); Fils du Dragon, Portraits chinois, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, France; Portraits de Mao, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie, Besançon, France; and Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva, Switzerland (all 2003). The artist's many prestigious group exhibitions include The Unhomely, Phantom Scenes in Global Society, 2nd Biennale International of Contemporary Art, Seville, Spain (2006); A propos du Lingchi (supplice des cents morceaux), with Huang Yong-Ping, Musée Denon, Chalon-sur-Saône, France; Moi–Autoportraits du XXe siècle, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, France (both 2004); New Zone–Chinese Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2003); the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003 and 1995); and Lyon Biennial, Lyon France (2000 and 1997). This will be Yan Pei-Ming's first exhibition in New York.
Best known for his larger-than-life self portraits, as well as paintings of political and cultural icons such as Mao Tse-Tung and Bruce Lee, Yan Pei-Ming has emerged in recent years as one of the most dynamic and experimental Chinese painters. Before moving from his native Shanghai to France in 1980, Yan Pei-Ming painted landscapes and portraits of peasant workers. Since then, his subjects have included anonymous figures, his father, Buddha, and a series of prostitutes, all concurrent with an on-going body of self-portraits. Although the genre of portraiture is not commonly encountered in Chinese art, it manifests with both Eastern and Western sensibilities in Yan Pei-Ming's works. His expressive style and controlled palette reflect a connection to the aesthetic and cultural climate of China as well as the influence of 20th-century American conceptual art. His canvases are typically mono- or bi-chromatic and painted with large brushes (sometimes a broom), in either black and white or deep shades of red. With a mastered economy of marks, he delineates his compositions with broad, sweeping gestures and visible drips, resulting in images that dissolve into near-abstraction at close view.