Yang Yongliang’s video work Mountains of Crowds shows throngs of people moving through an urban landscape set against a view of distant mountains and waterfalls.

On close inspection, the mountains are revealed to be made up of densely packed skyscrapers.

Yang grew up in Shanghai and trained in traditional Chinese ink painting at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. He later developed a process of working with photographs and video to comment on the changing landscape of his country.

Yang begins his landscapes with a pencil sketch, later inserting photographs and video to create the finished work. The aim is to capture the spirit of traditional Chinese paintings but in a contemporary way. ‘With these landscapes I want to raise awareness rather than give any answer. I don’t feel anger – more disappointment and despair. It makes me feel helpless,’ he has said.

Mountains of Crowds now enters the University of Salford Art Collection as part of a joint project with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester, helping to create a permanent legacy for both its exhibition and commissioning programmes.


The artist.

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