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  • Provenance

    Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong

  • Literature

    Xindong Cheng, ed., Yang Shaobin, Beijing, 2004, p. 60 (illustrated) 

  • Catalogue Essay

    Together with Yue Minjun and Fang Lijun, Yang Shaobin has emerged as one of the leading voices in contemporary Chinese painting. Yang's work was influenced by the painterly traditions of Social Realism; but his interest in psychology and physiognomy can already be detected in early works such as Fun. Dating from 1992, it depicts a scene of five figures standing before a Chinese garden landscape. With varied expressions, the protagonists form a strangely compelling group.
    The painting at once recalls staged family portraits and ideologically-loaded official group photographs. Looking more carefully at the work, however, the viewer slowly discerns that it may be a rather cynical portrayal of family unity. With its rigid contours, caricature-like figures and awkward poses, the image is suffused with a sense of irony and ambiguity. Although ostensibly portraying a scene of leisure and play, the protagonists are presented with a grimace as much as a smile or laugh, and there is a sense of forced enjoyment and civility. The painting works as both celebration and critique of the ordered, homogenous workings of Chinese society – the mobility of the average family, the one child policy, Confucian ideals of filial piety, and the monotony of everyday life. In short, Fun can be seen as Yang's investigation into the cultural psychology of modern China.

33

Fun

1992
Oil on canvas.
100 x 100 cm (39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in).
Signed and dated 'Yang Shao Bin 1992' lower right.

Estimate
£80,000 - 120,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010
London