About Art and Reflecting Current Times
Many people say that art should reflect current times, but Mr. Yang has a reserved attitude towards this statement. He believes that truly good art does not reflect current times, but reflects life situations and eternal beauty. Instead, it should be a journalist’s job to reflect current times. An example Mr. Yang presented was Van Gogh, master of post-impressionist art. His painting “Sunflower” has been exhibited in major international art museums many times and has become a model for future generations. However, sunflowers have existed since ancient times, and Van Gogh did not deliberately use sunflowers to reflect current social issues, but purely expressed the artistic conception of beauty. Therefore, art does not reflect current times. Of course, artists can reflect current times (a way of expression), but some people believe in stereotypes and think: “if art does not reflect current times, it is not good art.”
About Art History
Mr. Yang said that he did not believe in history, because he feels that it is written by people, and if there is no neutral standpoint in which to write about it, then it will be distorted.
Mr. Yang presented author Gombrich’s work: The Story of Art (within the Western art higher education system) as an example. Gombrich’s works have sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, and almost anyone studying art history has read Gombrich’s book, especially if Chinese artists want to learn more about the West. This is considered a model art textbook by the world, but does not introduce any female artists. Mr. Yang thinks that the lack of female artist representation may be attributable to chauvinism. After all, women were regarded as housewives in the historical context. Women have had the right to vote for more than a hundred years, but at the time, Gombrich had ignored female artists, a natural reaction. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the feminist movement began to flourish, and people began to demonstrate: “Why do some artists in art museums only occupy four, two, or even one party, but all of them are men?” It will inevitably cause everyone to wonder, aren’t there any good female artists?
Mr. Yang feels that world values are now reversed. The most popular artists in the Eastern art market are people of color, and the second are female artists. This phenomenon can be considered as ridiculous, because art is distinguished by gender and race, so in essence, it is biased. Even though history can teach us a lot, the audience must carefully investigate and verify.
In the abstract field, what do teachers profit from the results? What is still being explored?
Mr. Yang said that rather than trying to achieve results, his creation is buried within his inner needs. Although many people will reverse the cause, the urgent concern on the market is still famous. He wants to pursue and complete himself, and that is his creation. Abstraction and realism have always existed, but abstraction is more popular. Generally speaking, realism is easier accepted by the public because they are not used to thinking or relying too much on their left brain (since it is difficult to understand abstraction).
Mr. Yang believes that how you express something or what you want to express is more important. Abstraction is not Mr. Yang’s main goal, but after years of creating, a cumulative way of expression is formed. There is much space for abstract imagination and Mr. Yang smiled and said: “I like thinking”.
Such topics are endless to explore. There are many things that we may not know or feel, or perhaps, we think it does not exist. However, it does in fact exist. For example, we cannot see Covid-19 with the naked eye. Although we can’t see it, the virus actually exists and its influence is very powerful. Mr. Yang said that he is particularly interested in things that are seemingly invisible yet powerful, as he explores the “invisible” and is able to feel it through his creations.
About Feeling and Instinct
Mr. Yang believes that love and hate are both a kind of feeling. Although we can’t touch these “feelings”, we are able to experience the powerful influences of these invisible things. That is “feeling”. Therefore the invisible thing is called “abstraction”. For artists, sincerity is a very important feeling. Humans can’t tell who is more honest than who because it is a feeling that the naked eye can’t distinguish, but the impact that “feeling” has on people is very profound.
Photos © Chihung Yang