Yang Liuyi’s personal exhibition opened Monday in Beijing. Yang started his urban creation since 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings. Picture: Internet
Beijing is currently holding an innovative exhibition of Chinese paintings. Based on traditional landscape paintings, the artist has added depictions of Chinese cities to create brand new cityscape works.
The exhibition features nearly 100 masterpieces by famous artist Yang Liuyi, who began his urban creations in 2016 and is the founder of China’s metropolitan landscape paintings, which inspired a series of new urban painters.
Critics believe that unlike traditional single-themed paintings, the paintings give a new signal that the concepts of metropolis and nature have integrated seamlessly.
“In these paintings, the contradictory elements of city and nature, modernity and tradition, technology and ecology are no longer a paradox. They are unified,” Shang Yunju, vice president of the China Literary and Art Critic Association, said at the exhibition.
Yang’s paintings of major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an in Shaanxi Province (northwest China) and Hangzhou in Zhejiang (east China) are part of a new school, known as the name of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings.
The works retain the traditional techniques of classical Chinese painting. They still use brushes, ink and watercolors as painting materials. They keep the representation of the landscape, rivers, mountains or trees, as background. They use common tricks in structure: mountains dissolve into clouds and land into water, if viewed from a distance.
Yet the landmarks of a city are added in the middle of each painting without exception.
For example, Yang painted Guangzhou with large expanses of red kapok trees as a base tone, then placed the city’s landmark, the Canton Tower, in the distance.
Yang Liuyi’s personal exhibition in Beijing. Yang started his urban creation since 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings. Picture: Internet
Speaking about the works, Kang Wei, editor of The Art Newspaper in China, noted that the emergence of cityscape paintings is “not a coincidence”.
“Urbanization is the historical trend of China’s economic and social development. This is true from the long historical process, from modern times to contemporary times. Cities have become deeper with their social and civilized landscape. So, Chinese paintings should definitely go with the city.