ARTS / ART
Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings reveal influence of urbanization
Published: Oct 14, 2021 12:07 AM
The solo exhibition of Yang Liuyi launched in Beijing on Monday. Yang began his urban creation since 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings. Photo: Web

The solo exhibition of Yang Liuyi launched in Beijing on Monday. Yang began his urban creation since 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings. Photo: Web


 
Beijing is currently holding an innovative exhibition of Chinese paintings. Based on traditional landscape paintings, the artist has added depictions of Chinese cities to create brand new urban landscape works.

The exhibition presents nearly 100 masterpieces from well-known artist Yang Liuyi, who began his urban creations in 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings, which inspired a string of new urban painters.

Critics believe that unlike the traditional single theme paintings, the paintings give a new signal that concepts of the metropolis and nature have integrated with each other in a harmonious way. 

“In those paintings the contradictory elements of the city and nature, modernity and tradition, technology and ecology are no longer a paradox. They are unified,” Shang Yunju, vice chairman of the China Literary and Art Critics Association, said during the exhibition.

Yang’s paintings of big cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, and Hangzhou in East China’s Zhejiang, are part of a new school, known as Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings.

The works retain traditional techniques of classical Chinese painting. They still use brushes, ink and watercolors as the painting materials. They keep the depiction of the landscape, rivers, mountains, or trees, as the background. They use common tricks in structure: The mountains dissolve into clouds and earth into water, if one looks from a certain distance.

Yet the landmarks in a city are added in the middle of each painting without exception.

For example, Yang painted Guangzhou with large swathes of red kapok trees as the basic tone, and then put the city’s landmark Canton Tower in the distance.

The solo exhibition of Yang Liuyi in Beijing. Yang began his urban creation since 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings. Photo: Web

The solo exhibition of Yang Liuyi in Beijing. Yang began his urban creation since 2016 and is the founder of Chinese metropolitan landscape paintings. Photo: Web


 
Talking about the works, Kang Wei, editor-in-chief of The Art Newspaper in China noted that the emergence of urban landscape paintings is “not a coincidence.”

“Urbanization is the historical trend of China’s economic and social development. This is true from the long historical process, from modern to contemporary times. Cities have become more profound with their social and civilized landscape. Thus, Chinese paintings should certainly go with the city.”

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