The Production of Pictures
by Fan Lin
Wang Yabin’s pictures, for which we must with greater readiness use the term ‘picture, depend upon tiny polaroid photographs. Almost all of the traces of the object’s specificity, originally quickly captured, are given an induplicable effect by the brush. Some are extended, more are transformed. These works are able to draw on a number of associations, both relating to photography and to painting. Eastern and Western artistic traditions comfortably co-exist, merging with relish.

Currently photographers pursuing similar methods to Wang Yabin include Wendy Ewald from the Netherlands and Annen. Their work belongs to this style. Due to his long-term status as an artist, Wang Yabin’s images are more distinctive. They are unclassifiable and cannot be limited to the term ‘photograph’. The romance of Wang Yabin’s work is not limited to its formal aesthetic. Rather, it includes the pure self-expression of a painting. Ripples of the taste of Eastern wisdom bring an element of natural cunning and indulgence.

In 1978, John Szarkowski through his divided image entitled Mirror and Window, the window equates to the realist tradition, exploring the realistic focus. However, the mirror tends towards romantic self-expression. The traces of the creativity of today’s photographers are often difficult to retain, such that people often judge photographers attainments on the basis of the length of their training. Seeing technical content as a measure of success, many viewers stood in front of photographs firstly choose to make a technical analysis influenced by technical factors. Regardless of whether they see a ‘mirror’ or a ‘windows’, following this technical break-down, the art’s power to move the viewer is no doubt diminished.

All along, photography and painting have manifested a close relationship mutually assisting each other to overcome dilemmas. Whilst the vast majority of photographers are willing to describe scenery simply through portraying it well through the lens, Wang Yabin consciously uses his paintbrush to advance us. clearly Wang Yabin is not a calm type of photographer. If we simply divide into several states his sketching method on the photograph, we see that some of these strengthen and exaggerate the original image; for example, Shadow Of Trees, Greeting Pine and Oh, Sheep. Another element expand the image as manifested in Rabbit King and The Year of Pig. However, the greatest departures are presented in Colour Fans and Violent Winter. Often utilizing the photographs as a base to create other images, the artist forms a single point almost out of thin air to give an additional layer of meaning, such that at that point one can only vaguely establish the original imprint of the object under the sensation of the brushstroke.

A description to identify the photograph is unnecessary. If we say that for a long time the vast majority of photography was purely descriptive in style, then Wang Yabin’s works reflect the typical significance of the ‘picture.’ Its effect is not only related to photography, but also to painting. When people search bookshelves hard to discover the contemporary wisdom of photography, perhaps this frenetic painting style itself suggests a new direction for the painting.

Translation: Nicola Kielty

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