Yang Jiechang: 3 Souls 7 Spirits Opening：November 6th, 2019（Wednesday）16:00 Duration：November 7th, 2019 - February 9th, 2020 Host：Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum Address：Building 3, No.210, Wenshui Road Jingan District, Shanghai Yang Jiechang's solo exhibition 3 Souls 7 Spirits is opening on November 6th, 2019. The exhibition presents 20 groups of major works created over the last thirty years and puts the emphasis on Yang's oeuvre as a painter. Yet, next to 14 sets of paintings and calligraphies it includes also 2 installations and 3 videos. The exhibition is curated by Martina Koeppel-Yang.
3 Souls 7 Spirits is the title of Yang Jiechang's large-scale solo exhibition at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, and it is the name of one of his masterful calligraphies present in the exhibition, too. The motto originally describes the daoist concept of the essence of the human soul. As title of Yang's solo exhibition and as calligraphy, it hints to two fundamental elements in his oeuvre: the use of the calligraphic brush and the emphasis on spiritual values, which he appreciates for their universality. It is a kind of pragmatic spirituality, anchored in the here and now, similar to the one evident in Chinese literati culture, where contemplation and self- cultivation are as much an act of participation in worldly affairs as governing.
Yang Jiechang's main tool to actively take part in our contemporary world is the Chinese brush. He has been using a variety of artistic media throughout his career, yet painting and calligraphy are at the centre of his creation. He however does not consider himself an ink painter or calligrapher but rather a contemporary literati and painting for him is an act of participation. After his emigration to Europe in 1988, Yang was quasi naturally attracted by romanticism, in particular German romanticism with its subjective quest for spirituality, its love for nature and the search for the obscure and unfinished. Both, Eastern spirituality and romanticism are present in his oeuvre on a conceptual and on an aesthetic level from very early on, for example in his Hundred Layers of Ink series (1989 - 1999).
About the Artist The artistic practice of Yang Jiechang (b. 1956 in Foshan) as a calligrapher-painter turned global social actor inverts the contemporary Chinese art world norm of using Western avant-garde forms to critique contemporary Chinese society. He accomplishes this by adopting the performative expressivity of the traditional brush and the paradoxical dialectics of pre-modern Daoist skeptics to expose the underlying social and cultural forces that shape our contemporary global reality. With his purely abstract One Hundred Layers of Ink works, which he inaugurated for the seminal 1989 trans-national show Magiciens de la Terre, Yang deals with the contrasting themes of material and spiritual transcendence, liberation of the individual, universal love and nature.