Artificial Wonderland is a series started in 2012. Yang Yongliang uses images of architecture as brushstrokes; heavy mountain rocks with enriched details draw a faithful reference to Song Dynasty landscape painting. Urban development makes life in the city flourish, but it also imprisons these lives; centuries-old cultural tradition in China is profound, but it has also remained stagnant. Ancient Chinese people painted landscapes to praise the greatness of nature; Yang Yongliang’s works, on the other hand, lead towards a critical re-thinking of contemporary reality.
In Artificial Wonderland II (2014), there are digital replicas of two Song Dynasty master paintings, namely “Travelers Among Mountains and Steams” (Fan Kuan) and “Wintery Forest in the Snow” (anonymous). Whereas ancient landscapes are often seen as being without time, his interpretation of the latter work is a nocturnal image, titled Wintery Forest in the Night. From the New World is titled after Dvorak’s Symphony No.9. The 2014 series marks a step forward in terms of digital technique–the piece is larger than ever and enriched with tremendous detail images. Also, Yang Yongliang conjucted natural mountain rocks into the signature artificial landscape for the first time. Images of the mountain rocks are mostly taken in Iceland and Norway. In this piece he depicts a realistic but illusory new world.