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Yang Fudong (b. Beijing, 1971; lives and works in Shanghai) is one of
China’s most renowned film and photography artists. After completing
a degree in painting in the early 1990s, he branched out into a new
medium, experimenting with film and shooting on 35-mm stock.
Yang now works as a director and photographer, often staging his
videos in sprawling installations. One of these, New Women (2013),
consists of five black-and-white films, each shown on its own screen.
In the silent and largely static takes, five naked women prance between
ancient columns, lean against dressers and mantelpieces, or
loll daintily on ottomans and lavishly appointed beds. The setting is a
blend between archaeological excavation site, elegant salon, and
ethereal house of pleasure.
New Women is a tribute to the early days of the Chinese movie industry.
Art, culture, and political freedom went hand in hand with corruption,
brutality, and decadence in the films of the 1930s. With their
creative energy and sexually charged atmosphere, they contributed to
the demise of the culture of imperial China and helped usher in a
new era. With an essay by Michael Ostheimer.