I Am My Tool – Wall Street, 2012—2013

Yang Shaobin
I Am My Tool – Wall Street, 2012—2013
Oil on canvas
240 x 320 cm
Installation view


In the late 1990s, Yang Shaobin painted monochromatic oil portraits that seem to scream silently in anguish – reminders of war, revolution and the agonising restraints imposed on the individual by contemporary society. The familiar faces of Western, Soviet and Middle Eastern leaders haunt his later canvases, and scenes from media reports are interspersed with violent abstractions.

In 2004, he investigated labour conditions and exploitation, which led to two bodies of works, '800 Meters Under', 2004–6, and 'X Blind Spot', 2008. The Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 provided inspiration for his series 'Blue Room', 2010, in which portraits of international policy makers are juxtaposed with the innocent victims of ecological disaster.

Yang has exhibited extensively across China and internationally, including at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil (2009); Tate Liverpool, UK (2007); National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia (2007); Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, Switzerland (2005); Venice Biennale (1999) and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (1996).

This person was part of Sharjah Biennial 11