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Monday, June 14, 2010

A Different Shade of Red

NEW YORK, June 4 – The Chambers Fine Art held an impressive exhibition opening for a young Chinese artist named Ye Nan. The exhibit is named Red Phosphorous and had an interesting mix of abstraction, industrial grit, and political propaganda.

Who Conquered Theirs

Most of Ye Nan's work consisted of thin layers of paint and red liquid phosphorous. Phosphorous is an industry chemical used to make matches, pesticides, toothpaste, and detergents. The phosphorous, which is used in Nan's paintings, gives his work an industrial quality similar to Robert Rauschenberg's Combines in some respects.

Ideal Nation

In terms of content, Nan's use of overtly political titles and subversive imagery adds a philosophical element to his work. Although he is too young to remember the early Chinese Communist revolution, he masterfully incorporates its propaganda techniques into his art. For example, his monochromatic use of the color red and the frequent employment of flag motifs are directly referencing the visual vocabulary of early Chinese Communist propaganda.

We Still Have Many Virgin Islands

Despite his visual usage of Communism propaganda techniques, the spirit of Ye Nan's artwork is actually the product of contemporary Chinese attitudes and modes of thinking. According to the exhibition statement, his work is drawing inspiration from industrialization, science, politics, and rock music.

Ultimate Victory

Ultimate Victory (detail)

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