Art Beyond the Generic City: Yang Yongliang’s Photo Composites 2007-2012
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This thesis examines the digital photo composites of Chinese artist Yang Yongliang (b. 1980, Shanghai) from 2007-2012 by selecting three distinct series that focus on three cities. This thesis approaches Yang’s Shanghai-based digital landscape prints (shuma shanshui), his 2012 series A Bowl of Taipei, and his 2010 series Greece, Greece and investigates how they relate to Asian art history, contemporary art discourse, and urban theories, including Rem Koolhaas’s 1995 essay “The Generic City.” This thesis moves beyond the simple binaries with which Yang’s works are often described – past versus present, nature versus city, tradition versus modernity – dichotomies similar to those used to characterize recent urbanization in most major cities, as observed in Koolhaas’s writing. This thesis argues that Yang’s works inhabit multiple positions simultaneously and offer new potentials for expanding beyond the generic city.