Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present Yang Bo’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, “Fly me to the moon sequence 2: Three MC’s and One DJ” from January 23 to February 20, 2021.
Yang Bo has consistently produced works on the theme of pop culture and the sense of distance related to its reception. Centering on music, Yang has enjoyed pop culture, which despite being concerned with far distant persons and events, approaches us psychologically as something extremely intimate. Drawing inspiration from such influences, Yang creates his unique world of work through mixing portraits of pop stars and the various scenes that they color with landscapes from his own life.
Yang was born and raised in the Hubei Province in China, and moved to Japan in 2001. The artist’s parents had decided to move to Japan in a time when China was bearing witness to various signs of change leading to its rapid economic development. Amidst the different cultural situation in Japan, Yang, who was 10 years old at the time, like many others had experienced during their adolescence, found himself exposed to various pop cultures of the same era that lay beyond his living sphere. Under such circumstances he attempted to engage with and understand the ways of culture while at times tracing and referencing history. What this reflects is the presence people who exist within the dynamic flow of world history, and the figure of an individual savoring the days of their youth. Yang, who chose to base his life and practice in Japan, states in his own words as follows: “thinking about the kind of ‘reception’ I have engaged in so far is also the process of tracing my identity,” and “as I am aware of having been brought up in this context, I am confident in selecting what I have picked up from my experience as motifs for my work.”
Through producing work, Yang serves to unravel his own reception (which could in a sense be described as submission mixed with feelings of admiration), and in doing so, deciphers the state surrounding each era. It can be said that through painting, Yang attempts to touch upon how this continuum touches upon the universality of the present age.
The works presented on this occasion are based on the concept of “how far one can imagine while being unable to move” amidst the situation of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, and by further presenting them as a collection of cinematically edited fragments, attempts to create a margin for interpretation. Yang writes texts that while do not directly touch upon the content of the paintings, evoke a certain scene, and at times incorporates it as a part of the exhibition. Through each painting and the text that accompanies it, the viewer is thus able to recall various scenes and build their own story.
“Fly me to the moon,” which is the title of this exhibition, is a famous song that has been covered my numerous musicians over the years. Perhaps the most well known is the cover sung by Frank Sinatra in the 1960s, when the Apollo program was underway to land mankind for the first time on the Moon. A tape recording of Sinatra’s cover was actually brought onto the spaceship that orbited the Moon, and is today regarded as a valuable song closely associated with the times.
The song ends with the lyrics “Fill my heart with…”, yet what can viewers imagine after seeing this exhibition? In his text for this exhibition, Yang writes, “I thought that the farthest place for the products of all culture was myself.”
Yang Bo was born in Hubei, China in 1991, and moved to Miyagi prefecture in Japan in 2001. He graduated in 2019 with an M.F.A. in Painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. His recent solo exhibitions include, “Heart of glass” (CAPSULE Gallery, Tokyo, 2018), with selected group exhibitions such as “working / editing” (akibatamabi21, Tokyo, 2020), “Fixed Shadows” (Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Tokyo, 2019), and “The Course of true love never did run smooth” (EUKARYOTE, Tokyo, 2019).