Yan Heng explores the nuts and bolts of art: Mechanical inspiration
Published: Oct 09, 2011 11:17 AM Updated: Oct 09, 2011 06:38 PM
Artist Yan Heng’s solo exhibition features mechanical subjects inspired by his childhood. Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Yang

Yan Heng enjoys focusing his artistic eye on painting mechanical components, from computer motherboards to refrigerator and air conditioner motors. His new solo exhibition at Gallery Yang, which kicked off before the National Holiday, features many new oil paintings on such mechanical matter. 

The Banned Book portrays a computer’s burnt motherboard on the wall connected to a socket. The wall is adorned with Chinese characters and pencil sketches. The 29-year-old artist from northeast China’s Liaoning Province pushes the envelope even further in his latest exhibition, which also features a giant crocodile in installation work, Deafness, together with a washing machine and computer keyboard. 

“Mechanical items are included among my works, especially computer components. This is partly because nowadays life is filled with delicate digital productions and personalized screens. It can be said that our lives face various screens every day," Yan told the Global Times. 

It wasn’t quite a Y2K meltdown come true, but on the final day of 2008 the painter’s computer motherboard burnt, destroying everything he had stored on the device. He recalled how the experience left him feeling helpless. “I couldn’t write, have fun or communicate with my friends. It was horrible. I couldn’t help but think how one day, we could become slaves to our machines," he lamented. 

Yan graduated from the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. 

He admits he had a dull childhood growing up in a small town, pointing out that he was surrounded by noisy factories and mines. 

He didn’t know it at the time, but it was such exposure to machinery that would inspire his future creations. 
“The paintings and installations allow me to recapture that part of my life," he said. 

When: Until December 4th 
Where: Units 47, 48, fourth floor, No.2 building, Sanlitun Village 
Admission: Free 
Contact: 6417-9418