Artist interview: Xu Yang

Four You Gallery
December 1, 2020

FYG: How do you describe your artistic universe?
XY: I would say my work is about to explore my childhood fantasies, to find things that I found exotic, beautiful, like 18th century rococo French architectures, British Georgian style architectures, like things I found exotic.

FYG: What inspires your paint?
XY: I would say my uncle, when I was little, he was the one that always encouraged me to the stuff I like. Painting is the thing that I found like meditation, I can feel relaxed, then I can feel I can chase whatever I like from the blank canvas, it’s like magical. My uncle is the one that always encouraged me to chase my dreams.

Right: Fantasy is the New Reality, 23102020-Oil on linen-95 x 80 cm – Left: Time is About Now, 23102020-Oil on linen-95 x 80 cm

FYG: What does your work represent?
XY: My works represents female identity in general, for example what makes a woman a woman, as for myself, I grow up in a patriarchy society, same as my mother and my grandmother, they are also experienced that fact that they got dominated by the male from their family, but both of them had remarkable careers as a woman. I want to use my works to create a world for myself, for example, some of the images has mirrors in them, it’s reflecting my identity, pink colours, big dresses are some girls would dream of, also what I dreamed of when I was little, it reflects what I like, it also reflects what I like womanhood to be which is to be themselves.

FYG: What is “Pandora’s Candy Box”?
XY: As we know that Pandora’s box was gifted to Pandora by Zeus, symbols a series of trouble or disasters, but when I was little, I was reading the story or I was watching the cartoons about it, I always wished the story can be turn around, I always wanted it to be a nice gift, as the box was full of good wishes, but as we know the result. I want to use this exhibition to express the hard thing is to see the positivity in life, to find the sweet things in life, because life is full of angers, stress, different negative elements, but as human we living with this but we also need to face like positively, to know the sweetness of life, to find the candy.

FYG: Can you tell us a bit more about the body of work presented in the show
XY: This series of works I created reflects on my childhood, for example, unicorns was the first thing that I draw in kindergarten. I loved pink dresses, I was fighting to my cousins for pink meshy fabrics or scarfs to make skirts, so with all of those fantasies, I wishes if they could be true. With this exhibition, I am using oil on different materials, like linen, board and oil paper to make them come true.

he Loves the Ballroom, 05112020-Oil on linen-95 x 80 cm 95 x 80 cm

FYG: Which artists are you most influenced by?
XY: I would have to say Berthe Morisot, I really into art history like Goya, Velazquez, Sorolla from European history. But Berthe Morisot was the first artist that I found pictured women in their private space, they dress up, or doing their hair, but whatever they are doing, the women in her pictures are doing those things for themselves. Which is that I inspired by.

FYG: How does your work comment on current social issues?
XY: We are experiencing Covid pandemic at the moment, disease was one of the things that Zeuz putted into Pandora’s box. I want people to know that there’s always rooms to move around, there always hope, with this exhibition, to hold on to your dreams, because we are going to come through this.

FYG: How do you define success?
XY: I would like to reach out to different people around the world, different audiences with different cultures. The fact that Four You Gallery is based in Dubai, it could potentially reach out to the audiences that I may not came cross to it’s very exciting. If my works can bring this fantasy to raise people’s feelings, to make them feel positive, feel better about their lives, I think that enough.

FYG: What is your own perspective of life?
XY: I think, be happy, do what you like to do. When I was a kid, I was not a happy kid, but throughout the years I use art to find myself, to find what do I like, I am achieving with my artworks.

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