Art Talk

You Won’t Be Alone by Yang Xu
By Swee Chin PAN

6.30 PM
Yang Xu wih RM250
We all know how talented the mainland Chinese painters are and Yang Xu is no exception. It is his first exhibition in Kuala Lumpur though he has exhibited in Singapore, Jakarta and Beijing.

The title piece You Won’t Be Alone consists of 16 panels of Cupid with his bow – a really lovely blue piece in tempera. For me, ‘tempera’ is a new word / medium used by artists. Yang Xu patiently explained the term to me. It is an old technique where you mix egg yolk with water and some oil, and then add coloured powder to it. This was the preferred medium used by the likes of Michelangelo and nearly every painter in the European medieval and early Renaissance period right up to 1500, when it was superseded by the invention of oil painting. This technique is well known for its long lasting effects. Here is a photograph of the piece and a close up of one of the panels. Isn’t Cupid the sweetest cherub?

You will also notice that most of his paintings are in a series of panels. This is because Yang Xu draws his inspiration from films/movies. As you know, motion pictures are essentially a repetition of still images. Hence Yang Xu paints his subjects frame-by-frame, bringing to light moments which may be missed in the repetition of these still images. In The Great Dictator, Yang Xu paints a sequence from this Charlie Chaplin classic. Initially, you might think it is a painting of Adolf Hilter until you see the unmistakable comical facial expressions of Charlie Chaplin – see below three of the 15 panels of this piece.
And the other thing you will notice is how real, life-like his paintings are. Take Untitled for example, a painting of a collection of loose change: how many of the coins can you recognise?
On the subject of money, I asked Yang Xu, why he has two pieces of artwork based on the Malaysian fifty ringgit and ten ringgit respectively? His answer was pure and simple – you have beautiful notes. Typical, it takes a foreigner to remind us to appreciate the simple beauty of our bank notes!

Honey - 2 out of 10 panels

Meat No.1 & Meat No. 2

Yang Xu with Michael Low
You Won’t Be Alone features at Richard Koh Fine Art from the 3 – 24 May 2012
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