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Yang Jiechang, Soy Sauce Drawing 1, 1988, soy sauce, paper, 14 3/4 × 12 1/8". From the series “Soy Sauce Drawings,” 1988.

Yang Jiechang

Ink Studio 墨斋

Yang Jiechang, Soy Sauce Drawing 1, 1988, soy sauce, paper, 14 3/4 × 12 1/8". From the series “Soy Sauce Drawings,” 1988.

The show “Earth Roots” proved the continued power of the monochromatic density and crusty strata of black ink as a metaphorical primordial stew that continues to nourish experimental art in China. Here, forty-six instantiations, of Yang Jiechang’s famed series,“One Hundred Layers of Ink,” 1989–99, were featured alongside a selection of the artist’s works from the previous decade. The exhibition’s narrative pivoted on the 1989 Centre Pompidou exhibition “Magiciens de la terre” (Magicians of the World), in which Yang participated as one of three artists from China. The curators noted that Yang, by that point, had already anticipated many artistic strategies that would come to characterize 1990s Chinese art: repeated action, intentional inarticulacy as a critical strategy, and monumentality. Yet in this restaging of the historic evolution of his seminal series, his work revealed

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