Artists Historians Curators

Ye Nan

102 Ye Nan

Born in 1968, Ye Nan received government funded for overseas study in Repin Academy of Fine Arts in Russia in 1989, and graduated from the academy with excellent results in 1996, from which she received a master’s degree. After the end of the overseas study, she returned to China in 1996, and taught at the alma mater Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Ye Nan’s oil paintings are impressive for the unique quality in the artistic language. All her works contain a strong sense of loneliness: either the elderly person who stands alone in the boundless land, or the woman standing upright with heavy burden, the ancient man playing a vertical flute, the man having difficulties climbing and even the children playing, their temperaments reveal a deep loneliness. This sense of loneliness give her works the power to touch the depths of the soul of the people, arousing people’s inexplicable sorrow.

“It was a key stage of growing up for a person from the age of 21 to the age of 28, this is when her world view and personality was formed. Therefore, it should be said that the nourishment of Russian cultural traditions, Russian magnificent & poetic nature and the national personality of perseverance deeply affected the young artist, though more importantly, it had an important impact on the formation of her artistic style. The firm & persistent, heavy, restrained nature of the northern ethnic groups made teachers and students, friends taciturn, but they had a deep emotional link once they knew each other. The Russian nation has a spiritual feature that is neither impetuous, nor glamourous, which has deeply permeated her artistic temperament.”

– An excerpt from “Li Jianqun: Magmas in the Wasteland – Review on the Art of Ye Nan”

“The art techniques of Ye Nan’s works can be divided into two major types: firstly, realistic compositions and characters’ images based on a sketch; secondly, surreal and imaginative artistic conceptions. Sometimes these two types of creative techniques appear in different works of the same series, which complement each other in content and form, and reinforce the same subject.”

– An excerpt from “Shao Dazhen: Based on the Reality & Beyond the Reality – the Aesthetic Pursuit of Ye Nan’s Paintings”

“She is very concerned about her works, and she is often depressed for not being satisfied with the work, rather than being attracted by the unsteady art trends, and the bombardment of speculation. When you ask her what she wants, she would answer that: “I would like to say it is my works hanging on the walls of art museums 300 years later, when you ask her what she wants to give to her son, she would answer that, ‘I hope my son brings his son to visit an art museum and tell him that this is the grandmother’s work.’ I believe that the people who can understand the works of Ye Nan, can feel her idealistic spirit running through her creation. Therefore, as long as an art museum hopes to collect her work, she hardly cares about the price, as long as it is a good art museum, she would like to donate it, because only one art museum such as the National Art Museum of China has collected 9 pieces, I think her ideal could be fulfilled.”

– An excerpt from “Sun Tao: Life is No Longer Alone II”

“Why do Ye Nan’s paintings always have a strong visual impact, with the incredible momentum that shocks the viewers who have to face up to them? It perhaps comes from her extraordinary artistic construction: the composition of her painting is not restricted by the rules of the academy, with the surprising structure of the screen, often creating unexpected and surprising works. The famous Russian art critic Dmitrenko wrote a review on the composition of the painting of “Loneliness” No.1 and said that, “The horizon that runs through the painting separates the wilderness from the night sky in the moonlight, the landscape with such a composition has dead serenity, and the creator pushes the emotion of loneliness to the vortex, so that the tragedy of emotion arrives at the emotional limit – the limit without any way out.’”

– An excerpt from “Tao Yongbai: ‘Mental Image of the Times’ – Analysis of Ye Nan’s Oil Paintings”

Selected Exhibitions and Awards:

2015 Six works including “A Shadow is Passing By” and “The Memories Passing Away” participated in “Relay” CAFA Teachers’ Exhibition of Sketches

2015 “Summon” group paintings participated in the “Great Beautiful Tibet” painting exhibition

2015 Assisted Zhan Jianjun to complete the “Yellow River Cantata” group of paintings and participated in the “Casting History & Cherishing Peace – to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the War of Chinese People Resisting against Japan and the World Anti-Fascist Art Exhibition”

2015 The work “My Heart is Flying” participated in “The Temperature of History: CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings” exhibition tour

2014 The work “My Heart is Flying” was selected by the exhibition of oil painting of the 12th National Art Exhibition

2014 The work “Blessing” was selected by the exhibition of mural painting of the 12th National Art Exhibition

2013 The work “Blessing” was selected by Chinese Women Painters Exhibition

2012 The work “Highland Barley” was selected by “The Most Painting” Youth Art Exhibition

2012 The work “Summon” was selected by the 5th Beijing International Art Biennale

2011 The work “Heavy Burden” was selected by the 4th Youth Art Exhibition

2011 The works “Ba Za” and “Companion” were selected by the “The North and South of Tianshan Mountains – Xinjiang Thematic Art Works” exhibition

2010 The work “The Boy and Girl” participated in “Oil Painting Art and Contemporary Society – China Oil Painting Exhibition”

2010 The work “Weathering” was selected by the 4th Beijing International Art Biennale

2009 Participated in the creation of “Yellow River Cantata” which was awarded by the Central Academy of Fine Arts

2009 The work “The Boy and Girl” was selected by the 11th National Art Exhibition

2008 The work “Flying Peace” participated in the exhibition to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army

2007 The work “Curium Pot” participated in the “Spirit and Character – Contemporary Chinese Realistic Oil Painting Research Exhibition”

2006 The work “Curium Pot” was selected by the 3rd Youth Art Exhibition

2004 The work “One Step Further” was selected by the 10th National Art Exhibition and won the Excellence Award

2003 The work “Land – Mother” participated in the Embracing the New Century – the Third China National Exhibition of Oil Paintings

2000 The work “Heavy Burden” participated in “The 20th Century China Centurial Exhibition of Oil Painting”

1997 The work “Heavy Burden” won the award of “Towards the New Century - China Youth Oil Painting Exhibition”

1996 Graduation creation “Loneliness” won the award of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts

Selected Academic Monographs:

“Teaching of Central Academy of Fine Arts Series – Ye Nan”, “Russian Skills of Drawing”, “Neva Retrospective – Stories of the Department of Painting, Repin Academy of Fine Arts”, “Teaching Materials of the Fundamental Course of Central Academy of Fine Arts – Deconstruction of the Human Body”, “Material Techniques of Classical Oil Painting”, “Started from the Yellow River Cantata to Talk About Creative Teaching”

Selected Collections:

2007 – 2009 Assisted Mr. Zhan Jianjun to undertake the 100 pieces of the national major historical thematic art creation project, completed the “Yellow River Cantata” collected by the National Art Museum of China

2001 – 2010 Nine paintings including “Summon” group paintings were collected by the National Art Museum of China

2005 Copies of seven pieces by masters, including “God Flower” (replica of Rembrandt’s original piece) in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, were collected by the National Art Museum of China

2004 The award-winning work of the 10th “National Art Exhibition” “One Step Further” was collected by the Zhejiang Art Museum

1996 Graduation Creation “Loneliness” was collected by the 200-year-old art museum of the academy, which is the no.3 museum in Russia.

Courtesy of the artist, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO.