Kylin Gallery has been established to encourage cultural cross-fertility through education, marketing, and, most especially, presentation of and support for art and artists that consciously “build bridges” between East and West. By opening in Beverly Hills, Kylin Gallery has targeted the Pacific Ocean as the body of water it will span with its metaphorical bridge. But this spirit of bridge-building will lead the gallery in all appropriate directions. Its program will feature art by Eastern and Western artists alike who look across the geographic and aesthetic divides in order to marry and merge idea and practice. The results will be not simply hybrid, but fused: in the art at Kylin, it will be hard to tell where one civilization leaves off and the other comes in, but it will be easy to see that both are present.
Two significant options face a Chinese artist in the contemporary cultural context if he desires to take up a path of his own. One is to walk out of the tradition of Chinese art the other is to break away from the influence of western art. Apparently, native tradition and western influence are the fundamental factors underlying the current cultural contest of the Chinese artist, as well as a touchstone for his belief and courage—only he who manages to transcend them will be able to reach the realm of free artistic creation.
Yang Xiaojian is an artist who challenges both native tradition and western influence with a Chinese medium—the ink and wash—an art form that he committed himself to for the last 20 years, proving in the process that art is both a means of spiritual redemption and an action of cultural transcendence of universal significance.
Following explorations and breakthroughs over past years, Yang Xiaojian’s ink and wash scripting have reached maturity. His recent works demonstrate aspects of creative achievement. He finished a series of “hard edge ink imagery” works that highlight a revolution of the calligraphic line. Under traditional paradigms, the lines of the writers, as controlled by his sensibility, leaves irregular traces and patterns on the paper, whereas Yang Xiaojian gives up subconscious lines in his scripting by way of drawing from Abstract Expressionism and conscious maneuvering of the lines, thus rendering in his work a painterly quality. The traces of scripting are confined in the picture frame, whereby the work retains the traces of scripted lines in details and in parts while engendering an overwhelming ink structure. With that accomplished, he begins to incorporate his comprehension of the world in his scripting, in such a manner that every piece of his work is visually striking while containing subject matters related to his cultural experiences. He traveled extensively over the years, and in the journey, he discovered large numbers of objects associated with the “ink imagery”, which he documented like scripting diaries, as a way of expressing his sensibility. His work is a structure of superimposed imageries of the world, to be read not only by himself but also by the viewer. More interestingly, his sensibility begins to connect to a number of social events. Events that provide him with new imageries, transforming his scripting into the narration, allowing the viewer to get access to his experience, his reflection, as well as his observation and judgment.
From calligraphy to scripting, from calligraphy to painting, and from Chinese tradition to western experiences, Yang Xiaojian’s trek achieves a cultural crossing. In his strong and visually compelling images is floated the sensibility of a contemporary artist, where original creations are revealed.