Kendo Is A 3-Channel Video Of 08’40” In 2014

IMG_7163YANG Yongliang is one of my adorable Chinese contemporary artists, and it is really a great pleasure to work with him during several exhibitions for the last few years. It was 2014 in July, which was my last working period in Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai before I moved to Rennes, France. The exhibition at the moment was a group exhibition named Aura of Poetry.

杨泳梁KENDO1杨泳梁KENDO2杨泳梁kendo4Yang has titled his exhibiting work “Break” (3-channel video 08’40” 2014) refers to “breakthrough”, which implies to a battle against oneself. It is a short film with strong personal characteristics.

“Break”, a chapter of my first experimental short film with a plot and human characters, portraying a swordsman fighting against himself in his own consciousness. The film uses the element of “water”, and at its climax, the exhausted swordsman struggles in the raining ink to enhance the tragic heroicness. I have adopted lot of the visual language in “Break” as my tribute to the world-renoun Japanese film director, Akira Kurosawa.

杨泳梁kendo5杨泳梁kendo6杨泳梁kendo8杨泳梁kendo9杨泳梁kendo13I started to practice Kendo since 2016 when I came back from Paris. By chance I showed a group of our museum’s VIP guests from Seoul to Yang Yongliang’s studio at the bund.It was my first time to visit him in the studio and I was fascinated by its charm.

Actually FALL INTO OBLIVION (Director: Yang Yongliang | Running time: 58’13’’  | Year: 2015) is Yang Yongliang’s first official film work, which the audience could also obviously see the evidence of some masters work, such as Kurosawa, Fellini, Anzelopoulos, and some Kubrick.

杨泳梁kendo14杨泳梁kendo16杨泳梁kendo17杨泳梁kendo18杨泳梁kendo21It is a tribute somehow. Compared with Yang Yueliang’s previous “landscape” works which have a lot of discussion of urban pressure, the film seems extremely different from the appearance, but from the core values,they are still at the same point. As the previous works are more objective and macroscopic, his film is more subjective when reflecting the inner fear and anxiety of the people living in the steel forest.

The film concept came out when Yang doing the kendo training with friends. So the narrative expresses Tao Yuanming’s longing of solitude exemplified in “Peach Blossom Spring”. It also introduces Zhuangzi’s paradox of “Dream of Butterfly” from “On the Equality of Things”. The man in armor leads the audience the way the tripedal raven has led him. Along with him, we drown in the stress of current lives and scenarios. Onward with him, we are challenged by our other selves. Being with him, we reflect the warmth and bid farewell.




Charlie Wang

Editor-in-Chief at Eliel Magazine

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