Yang Fudong’s dreamlike video work situated in 1930s Shanghai

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

About Yang Fudong

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.

‘The Fifth Night’

Yang’s 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 to demonstrate a fractured yet complete scene that is played on seven screens.

Conclusion

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 work 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.

Photos: Video stills

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

Photos: Installation views

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

All images by Yang Fudong & Marian Goodman Gallery/mariangoodman.com unless otherwise noted.

Videos

Video documentation of exhibitions ‘The Fifth Night’

4min 9sec

Video documentation of exhibitions ‘The Nightman Cometh’

2min 41sec

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