1980 in Changsha, China; lives and works in Beijing, China
Yang Xinguang’s creative oeuvre is focused primarily on sculpture though he certainly does use mediums such as video and performance, among others. In his works, the material itself is a particularly salient component. Earlier on, he often used cheap and easily obtainable natural materials such as stone, wood, bamboo, earth, and others; in recent years, he has also taken to more lustrous materials such as stainless steel and aluminium. At any rate, the artist emphasizes the connections as well as conflicts in the textures of various materials.
His “selection” of materials is in and of itself social. The personal sentiments and social identities cast on these materials, along with the value of the materials, all grant them that attribute of experience—and therefore they have no way of reverting to their origins. The artist’s application of such materials on the one hand goes along with and indeed highlights the characteristics of the materials itself, while on the other hand the artist also invests his own subjective emotions in them—or even imagines them further on the basis of the material forms themselves. Such emotions originate in Yang Xinguang’s daily experiences and are a response to collective sentiments. At the same time, he forges geometric and lineal forms in the works, in order to undertake an act of “frigidity” towards the conveyed emotions by means of a rational visual language, rendering them into objects that can be observed and pondered.
Yang Xinguang’s works have a distinctive humour and satire, especially the stubborn, recalcitrant premises and contexts in the video and performance pieces, or in the shooting and recording of a mental collapse. He has also calibrated the tension between sensuality and rationality throughout the creative process—which also means that his work is without that meekness in formalism and yet also lacks that cunning pervasive in conceptualism.