Song Yonghong

Song Yonghong
b. 1966, Quyang, Hebei
After graduating from the Department of Print-making at the China Academy of Fine Arts in 1988, Song Yonghong moved to Beijing where he took part in two landmark exhibitions, China Avant-Garde (1989) at the China Art Gallery and The New Generation’ (1991) at the Museum of Chinese History (see Yin Ji’nan).
Bringing the techniques of etching to oil painting, Song’s canvases are inhabited by people, objects and scenes executed with sharp edges and solid colours. They either lack or possess well-defined and heavy shadows. Such treatment, together with the puppet-like movements of the characters—often portrayed as lost in sexual desires—communicates a strong sense of disorientation. ‘Anxiety’ is the perfect word to describe Song Yonghong’s oeuvre. This quality has never abandoned Song’s visual domain since the time of ‘Burning Reality’, his first solo show held in 1995 at Hanart T Z Gallery (see Chang Tsong zung) in Hong Kong, and has returned even more acutely in his recent series, The Bath of Consolation (Weijie zhi yu), which was also the title of a solo exhibition organized at the Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2001. Using a reduced palette of mainly blue, pink and dark grey, Song portrays a series of lonely souls caught in the act of bathing. Unlike his earlier paintings, there is no cynical derision in the description of the figures of softened contours sculpted out of a dark background. They appear soiled rather than cleaned by drops of a substance too thick and sticky to be called water.
Doran, Valerie C.
(ed.) (1993). China’s New Art, Post-1989, with a Retrospective from 1979 to 1989 (exhibition catalogue). Hong Kong: Hanart T Z Gallery, 168–73. [Reprinted in 2001 by Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong.]
Li, Xianting (1995). The Immediacy of the Burning Reality’. In Song Yonghong. Burning Reality (exhibition catalogue). Hong Kong: Hanart T Z Gallery.
Song, Yonghong (2001). ‘Yishu Suibi’ [Random Notes on Art]. In Weijie zhi yu [The Bath of Consolation] (exhibition catalogue). Beijing: Other Shore Arts, Inc.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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