Yang Yongliang’s series ‘The Peach Blossom Colony’ – an idyllic society in a state of equality and romanticism, residing an illusional and reconstructed settings based on modern reality as a hopeless despair of the lost symbolic carrier of spirituality.
“As modern society rapidly develops, materialism and consumerism gradually corrodes and takes over the world of spirituality, whereas the same concrete buildings and constructions keep replacing the natural green forests. With the human moral standards degraded and corroded by materialistic desires, I believe that this “Land of Peach Blossoms” exists just the same in the subconsciousness of those city-dwellers today who are still in touch with their conscience.”
The idea is based on Tao Yuan Ming’s fable ‘The Tale of the Peach Blossom Colony’ written in 421. It tells a story of a chance discovery by a fisherman of an ethereal utopia where the people lead an ideal existence in harmony with nature, unaware of the outside world for centuries. The road to it was surrounded by blossoming peach trees and covered by peach petals.
The series started in 2008 and took the artist over three years to develop. He portrayed his ‘ancient literati’ dressed in plain clothes to avoid any apparent distinction in class, ranks, wealth or poverty as well as time period, space, and cultural boundaries.
“When viewed from a distance one sees a harmonious and quiet scene, when viewed closely one sees that it is filled with visual disorders of time and space. When one observes at a close distance one would find a lot of metaphorical elements of mechanics and modernization are hidden in the painting. The appearance of these elements immediately shatters the perceived atmosphere of peace and quietness, and produces a tension in the image right away. The originally harmonious elements have experienced a dramatically contrasting change, implying the connections and conflicts between these elements. The emergence of these contradictions expresses my all-time message and reflections on the conflicts between modern constructions and ecology, and between traditional culture and modern lifestyle.”