Dreamlike video work situated in 1930s Shanghai is both frighteningly beautiful and elegant (video)

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm - Still 4
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm

China’s most well-known cinematographer and photographer, Yang Fudong, was born in Beijing, China, in 1971. He is also regarded by many as one of the greatest film writers to come out of China, however his creativity spans far beyond that. Yang began training in painting at the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, and started working with film in the early 1990s. He now uses images to depict thought and experience, and he seeks to portray that anything is possible, including dreams and fantasies.

Yang films are generally considered to be poetic because of his style and the raw beauty of his work – playing off the thoughts and experiences of the profane. His video installation Fifth Night Part 1 depicts the same scene captured from seven different vantage points, or more like seven different perspectives. And yet these very different (but the same) perspectives or pieces are then puzzled together in order to demonstrate a fractured yet complete scene that is played access seven screens.

The seven screens that Yang uses form seven scrolls sharing the personal and intimate stories (and temporal journeys) of seven young people in 1930s Shanghai are told in a compressive dreamlike fashion. It is though each step of these young peoples story that we are gradually let into their dreams and desires in order to visualize their stories. The dreamlike quality of Yang’s works is what seems to suck you in as an audience member, in an otherworldly experience, communicating with the characters, joining them in their journey in a frighteningly beautiful and elegant temporary world. As you jump from one perspective or story to another, you feel a sense of what had just happened a breath before becomes a sense of the past, a mere memory.

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm - Still 1
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm - Still 2
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm - Still 3
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, installation view at Marian Goodman Gallery, 2012
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm at Marian Goodman Gallery, 2012

Yang Fudong - Fifth Night Part 1, 2010, installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery, 2012
Yang FudongFifth Night Part 1, 2010, 7 channel video installation, 35 mm film B & W, stereo sound, 35mm, at Vancouver Art Gallery, 2012

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