Download a PDF version of this press release
Berkeley, CA, August 9, 2013 - The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive's (BAM/PFA) presentation of Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise, Works 1993–2013 is the inspiration for a new film series at the PFA Theater co-curated by the artist, as well as a series of public programs that will provide new contexts for his work.
On view from August 21 through December 8, the exhibition is the first midcareer survey of one the most influential artists and filmmakers working in China today. Much of Yang's work deals with the hopes aspirations of his peers, a generation that has grown up in the midst of unprecedented societal change in China. The artist and BAM/PFA Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte will explore questions about the unique anxieties, aspirations, and conundrums of this generation in a public conversation on August 20.
The artist will again be in conversation with Pirotte preceding a screening of An Estranged Paradise (1997/2002), the film that brought the artist to international attention upon its release. This screening kicks off the film series Yang Fudong's Cinematic Influences, which showcases some of the major films that have influenced him. In several of his own films, Yang channels the hypnotic beauty and romance of Shanghai cinema of the 1930s and 1940s, the so-called Golden Age of Chinese cinema. The black-and-white, high-contrast lighting and glamorously illicit realms of Yuan Muzhi's Street Angel (September 29) inspire Yang's similarly nourish images of city life, while the melancholy and slow-burning pace of Fei Mu's Spring in a Small Town (September 14) seem to haunt every step that his characters take. Yang also draws inspiration from China's groundbreaking mid-1980s Fifth Generation movement, when films such as Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth (September 7) and Zhang Nuanxin's Sacrificed Youth (September 5) opened up new ways of seeing China's landscape and history, and presented intellectual protagonists uncertain of how to live in their rapidly changing world. A more recent piece, Lou Ye's noirish, Shanghai-set Suzhou River (October 6), forms a perfect connection; like Yang's films, it is haunted by-and pays tribute to-the ghosts of characters from films long ago.
On September 20, journalist and author Daniel Brook (History of Future Cities) will join Guangzhou-based writer Hu Fang (Garden of Mirrored Flowers) in the Museum Theater for a wide-ranging discussion exploring historical and fictional visions of Chinese urbanization, a major theme in Yang's work. A copresentation with Asian Contemporary Art Consortium (ACAC-SF), the event is one of the highlights of Asian Contemporary Art Week San Francisco 2013 (September 19 through September 26), which features a variety of programs that celebrate the dynamics of Asian contemporary art practice at cultural institutions across the Bay Area. On November 24, professor of Asian art history at Harvard University Eugene Wang will present a talk about Yang's turn from painting towards film in the context of larger shifts in art-making in China during the late 1990s and 2000s.
Finally, on Wednesdays through Sundays throughout the entire course of the exhibition, Yang's single-channel films will screen on continuous loop from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Museum Theater following this schedule: Liu Lan (August 21–September 15), Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest (September 18–October 13), The Nightman Cometh (October 16–November 10), and An Estranged Paradise (November 13–December 8).
YANG FUDONG RELATED PROGRAMS/FILM SERIES CALENDAR
Yang Fudong and Philippe Pirotte in Conversation
Tuesday, August 20, 2013; 6 p.m.
Join artist Yang Fudong and BAM/PFA Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte for a conversation focusing on the protagonists of Yang's films: young Chinese who, like the artist, have grown up in the rapidly transforming society of the new China. What are the ideals and anxieties of this generation? How do they struggle to retain personal dignity in a society adjusting to constant change? How do “minor intellectuals” (Yang's term) pursue spiritual freedom?
Admission is free; the exhibition will be open from 5 to 9 p.m.
An Estranged Paradise (Yang Fudong, China, 1997/2002)
Yang Fudong and Philippe Pirotte in conversation
Thursday, August 22, 2013; 7 p.m.
Beautifully shot and edited in lustrous B&W, this quiet masterpiece offers rare glimpses of life in China circa 1997. Loosely based on Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise, Yang Fudong's first film is a poignant psychological drama that follows the activities of a young man in Hangzhou. Zhuzi is preoccupied with his sexuality-engaged to be married, he is tempted by romantic affairs with other girls. Physically, he suffers from a general feeling of sickness, but no illness can be diagnosed. It becomes clear that the true origin of his discomfort may be found in a profound discontentment; like many young Chinese of his generation, he feels strangely un-housed in his own life. (74 mins)
Zhang Nuanxin (China, 1985)
Thursday, September 5, 2013; 7 p.m.
A young Beijing woman is “sent down” to live among the Dai minority of Yunnan Province during the Cultural Revolution in this key work from one of China's few Fifth Generation female filmmakers. With Yang Fudong's 2011 short, The Nightman Cometh. (90 mins)
Chen Kaige (China, 1984)
Saturday, September 7, 2013; 6:30 p.m.
Sound, landscape, and political history are transformed into blistering poetry in the film that launched China's Fifth Generation and introduced two major voices to world cinema, director Chen Kaige and cinematographer Zhang Yimou. (89 mins) $5.50-$9.50
Spring in a Small Town
Fei Mu (China, 1948)
Saturday, September 14, 2013; 6:30 p.m
With a visual panache often compared to Ophuls, Antonioni, and Welles, Fei Mu's 1948 gem possesses a melancholy beauty all its own. Voted the Best Chinese Film of All Time in a poll of Chinese critics. (85 mins)
Visions of Urban Change in China: A Conversation with Daniel Brook and Hu Fang
September 20, 2013; 6 p.m.
Copresented with Asian Contemporary Art Consortium (ACAC-SF)
Join noted journalist Daniel Brook and Guangzhou-based writer and curator Hu Fang for a conversation in which historical and fictional visions of Chinese urbanization converge. The authors discuss their latest books-Brook's critically acclaimed A History of Future Cities and Hu's highly imaginative Garden of Mirrored Flowers-and engage in a wide-ranging dialogue that intersects with the issues explored in the work of Yang Fudong. Followed by a book signing.
Admission is free
Yuan Muzhi (China, 1937)
Sunday, September 29, 2013; 5:30 p.m.
Arguably the finest example of Shanghai's Golden Age, Street Angel is an intoxicating blend of Chinese leftist populism, Hollywood pizzazz, song numbers, French poetic-realist doom, comedic slapstick, and city symphony. (94 mins)
Lou Ye (China, 2000)
Sunday, October 6, 2013; 5:30 p.m.
In this atmospheric noir thriller, which doubles as a city symphony to Shanghai's eternal mysteries, a videographer searches for work, and for a lost love. (83 mins)
Yang Fudong and the New-Media Turn in Contemporary Chinese Art: A Presentation by Eugene Wang, followed by a Conversation with Philippe Pirotte
November 24, 2013; 3 p.m.
Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art at Harvard University, is a scholar of both historical and contemporary Chinese art. Wang looks at Yang Fudong's films in the context of the large shifts in art-making in China in the late 1990s and the 2000s, and brings special insight into the artist's work and his influences. In conversation with Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte, Wang will probe various aspects of Yang's artistic practice, including his relation to traditional Chinese art.
Included with gallery admission
Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise, Works 1993–2013 is organized by Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte and presented by BAM/PFA and the Kunsthalle Zürich. The exhibition is made possible in part by an anonymous donor; Marian Goodman Gallery; ShanghART Gallery; Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati and Dr. James Pick; the Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing; the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation; Rena Bransten; Nion McEvoy; an anonymous foundation; and April and Glenn Bucksbaum.
Yang Fudong's Cinematic Influences is made possible in part by The W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. Series curated by Adjunct Senior Curator Philippe Pirotte in collaboration with Yang Fudong and organized by Senior Film Curator Susan Oxtoby. With thanks to Sun Xianghui and Zhao Jing, China Film Archive; Noah Cowan, TIFF Cinematheque; Weihong Bao, East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley; Brian Loftus, Marian Goodman Gallery.
Founded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley's primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA's mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”
BAM/PFA presents approximately fifteen art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum's collection of over 16,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive of over 14,000 films and videos includes the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.
BAM/PFA Galleries: 2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue across from the UC Berkeley campus.
PFA Theater: 2575 Bancroft Way, just below Bowditch Street on the Berkeley campus.
Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open until 9 p.m on Fridays with scheduled L@TE performances. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Gallery admission: $10 adults (18-64); $7 non-UC Berkeley students, seniors (65+), disabled persons, and young adults (13-17); free for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students/faculty/staff/retires, and children (12 & under).
Galleries are open for free to the public on the first Thursday of each month.
PFA Theater Admission: General admission is $9.50; admission for UC Berkeley faculty/staff, non-UC Berkeley students, seniors (65+), disabled persons, 17 & under; admission is $5.50 for BAM/PFA members and UC Berkeley students. Additional same-day features are $4.00 unless otherwise noted.
Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.
For more information about the exhibition, film series, and programs please contact Peter Cavagnaro at (510) 642-0365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #