Black and white still from a video depicting mountains, which on closer inspection are made up of buildings.

Yang Yongliang, Mountains of Crowds, 2016. Still from video. Courtesy the artist. © Yang Yongliang.

New acquisition: Yang Yongliang: Mountains of Crowds, 2016

We are pleased to announce that we have recently acquired Yang Yongliang, Mountains of Crowds, 2016, through support from Art Fund.

Mountains of Crowds is a video piece generally presented on a HD monitor to give the appearance of a moving framed photograph.  The work criticises urbanism against a backdrop that, at a glance, poses serene natural waterfalls and mountaintops which, on closer inspection, transform into towered housing blocks and over-crowded streets.

Mountains of Crowds was formed after the Youngliang took digital photographs of his visits to different fast-developing cities. Then he sketched out his environment and added animations to the photographs, using digital manipulation to construct a conceptual landscape that mimics the collage and painting style of traditional Shan shui paintings (Chinese landscape paintings using brush and ink). Unique to this piece is its focus on people. He reveals complex winding streets with milling crowds to emphasise the social impact of urbanisation and overpopulation. The result is an intricate dystopian city that leaves viewers with a nostalgia for an older, slower paced world, and a foreboding sense of inevitability to these consumerist, urban advancements.

Watch Mountains of Crowds here.

Purchased with Art Fund support.