The Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is pleased to announce the opening of its new show dedicated to Chinese artist Yang Fudong. Produced and conceived under the artistic direction of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, this exhibition is part of the “Hors-les-murs” program, showcasing previously unseen holdings of the Collection at the Espaces Culturels Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Beijing and Venice. It is thus carrying out the Fondation’s intent to mount international projects and make them accessible to a broader public.
Since the early 1990s, Yang Fudong has been examining the complexities of contemporary Chinese society from a symbolic, detached perspective through his art form. Formally trained as a painter, Fudong has developed an extensive body of work comprised of videos, films, installations and photographs; consistently creating a visual language enveloped in a dream-like mystery.
Favouring multi-screen video projections, Fudong creates an experience that immerses the viewer. His characters, deliberately silent and disembodied, move according to choreographed gestures, always managing to transport the viewer into an aesthetically perfect environment.
Often drawing stylistically on different periods in Chinese and Western cinema – as well as taking inspiration from Shanghai in the 1930s, and the landscape tradition rooted in Chinese art history – Fudong creates open-ended, existential narratives that interweave quotidian ritual with dream-like states. With a consciously romantic framework that is simultaneously contemporary and out-of-date, Fudong examines China through the eyes of young urban intellectuals as they grapple with their place in the modern world. He effortlessly references China’s cultural traditions, whilst making close observations of what makes these narratives relevant to contemporary society. The resulting timeless stories plunge viewers into an otherworldly, nostalgic atmosphere in which a generation that exists between modernity and tradition explores and questions the world.
The Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo invites the public to discover this now major figure in Chinese contemporary art and cinema, through the presentation of a poetic work, The Coloured Sky: New Women II (2014), which belongs to the Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection. Fudong usually creates works on 35mm black and white film; this five-channel video installation marks an aesthetic departure from his signature, through the overwhelming use of vivid colour; the first colour film of the artist’s oeuvre.
Portraying an artificial brightly coloured world, the film depicts five young women, naïve and seductive, wearing vintage swimwear on a deliberately synthetic beachfront setting. Filmed in slow-motion against sounds of laughter, sighs, ocean rumbles and cricket song, they play a game of seduction. Five screens depict images of the sun, the sea, the beach, games, food and references to Western art interspersed with the appearances of a horse and a stag. One real, the other stuffed, the animals refer to a Chinese political story dating back to the 3rd century B.C. referring to the proverb “point to a deer and call it a horse”; a moral play on what is true and what is false.
The Coloured Sky : New Women II epitomizes Fudong’s artistic signature of stylistically referencing different periods in both Chinese and Western cinema and culture.
About the artist
Yang Fudong was born in Beijing in 1971. He is considered one of China’s most important contemporary film artists. Fudong now lives and works in Shanghai. His work has been exhibited widely in China through the most important avant-garde exhibitions in the late 1990s and has been consequently shown in major institutions around the world as Parasol Unit, London, UK (2011); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (2010); Asia Society, New York, USA (2009); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2005); Renaissance Society, Chicago, USA (2004). Fudong has participated in prestigious international art events including: Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2013); Venice Biennale, Italy (2003 & 2007); The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Australia (2006); documenta11, Germany (2002). The artist’s first major institutional solo exhibition in Europe was co-organised at the Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland, and Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, USA, in 2013. In 2016 a survey exhibition of the artist entitled Filmscapes, was held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne, Australia and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, New Zealand.
About the Fondation Louis Vuitton
The Fondation Louis Vuitton serves the public interest and is exclusively dedicated to contemporary art and artists, as well as 20th century works to which their inspirations can be traced. The Collection and the exhibitions the Fondation organizes seek to engage a broad public. The building created by architect Frank Gehry, and already recognized as an emblematic example of 21st century architecture, constitutes the Fondation’s seminal artistic statement. Since its opening in October 2014, the Fondation has welcomed more than a million visitors from France and around the world per year.
Confirming the international recognition of its artistic commitment, the exhibition Icons of Modern Art, The Shchukin Collection received a record-breaking 1.2 million visitors in six months (Oct. 2016-Mar. 2017).
The Fondation Louis Vuitton commits to engage into international initiatives, both at the Fondation and in partnership with public and private institutions, including other foundations and museums. It is also responsible for the artistic direction of a specific “Hors-les-murs” program within its cultural spaces in Munich, Beijing, Tokyo and Venice, which are exclusively devoted to exhibitions of works from its Collection. The exhibitions they organize are open to the public free of charge, and their programs are promoted through specific cultural communication.