Yang Jiechang

I Often Do Bad Things. Texts and Works 1982-2016

Image gallery

Yang Jiechang was born in 1956 and belongs to the so-called second generation of contemporary artists in China. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the beginning of his artistic career coincided with China’s political opening in the late 1970s and 1980s. His first appearance in Europe and the trigger for his emigration was his participation in the seminal exhibition Les magiciens de la terre in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989.

Yang’s journey from the cultural periphery, Deng Xiaoping's China of the mid-, late 1980s, to the cultural centre, Western Europe, describes also the artist's trajectory from the individual to the world and inscribes itself in a larger historical context. Yang's arrival in Europe occurs together with another historical event: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the conclusion of the Cold War era. For him personally, Yang describes this period as one of retreat into introspection and reinvention of identity. Large monochrome black ink paintings, the Hundred Layers of Ink series, reflect this position. Yet, after a decade of being active in the western art world, mere introspection made place to the conviction that participation is a major vector of artistic creation. Figurative paintings and videos supersede Yang's monochrome meditative inks. His works now refer to critical subjects and actual events. The artist's change of approach again concurs with an event that transformed the Post-Cold-War world drastically: 9/11.

With rare and unpublished photographs, reproductions and texts by French art historian Jean-Hubert Martin, former curator at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and German art critic Heinz-Norbert Jocks, this is the new essential Yang Jiechang overview.

For more information, watch Yang Jiechang discussing his work 100 Layers of Ink Nos. 1, 2, 3 (1994) on the Metropolitan Museum's media channel.

42,00 €
incl. VAT plus shipping costs

Edited by

Martina Köppel-Yang


Englisch / Französisch






16,5 × 23,5 cm



Published in

July 2017