Art's New Sinology

Soufflé au Soy Sauce?

The Daily Pic: Yang Fudong makes art films that mix French innovations and Chinese content.

08.30.13 2:22 PM ET

A still from "The Nightman Cometh," by the Chinese artist Yang Fudong, whose films and installations are now getting a survey at the Berkeley Art Museum. I've profiled Yang in next Sunday's New York Times, and the story is now online. One thing I didn't have room to mention: Part of Yang's appeal, I think, comes from the simple fact that he works in film. That's partly because there's almost never before been a case where the most radical innovations and disjunctions of the French Nouvelle Vague have been applied to Chinese subjects. But maybe more important is that, in China, the act of working in film is close to an anti-market move: Chinese collectors very often buy with investment in mind, which keeps them tethered to painting and sculpture—film has a place apart from the current art bubble. Also, film in China is normally seen as part of the entertainment-industrial complex, but Yang's version is far too strange and demanding to play the Hollywood (or Shanghai) game.

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