White Space presents Geyser, Yang Jian’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. Opening on May 26, 2023, the exhibition is on view through July 11 at the Caochangdi location.

During his past trip to the United States, Yang witnessed the eruption of a geyser at Yellowstone National Park. In awe of this phenomenon of nature, the artist writes: “The water once again spouted upward, after it fell back down. I experienced with my own eyes the power of the geyser. It revealed the mightiness of the hidden underworld.”

Geyser’s almost unquenchable power is foregrounded by the intervals of calmness between eruptions, which render more palpably the appalling force when it bursts. Yang fittingly titled the exhibition Geyser, hinting at a similarly eruptive force that underlies the works in the exhibition – the individual’s outburst of intense emotions and thoughts during abnormal times and circumstances. Best known for his installation and video works, Yang has staged this exhibition around his recent body of paintings. Paintings offered a casual, yet immediate and bodily response to a time of extremely limited mobility.

Yang Jian considers this body of work as a constellation of blueprints that contributes to the system building of his future artistic endeavor. They articulate what the artist stresses as a clear distinction between “an artist’s paintings” and “a painter’s paintings.” More than a prophetic look into the future, the works honestly embody the tangible experience of living under societal forces, offering a counteraction to the omnipresence of discipline. Fire hoses form an unconventional framing device, metaphorically besieging the paintings. Collapsed and slack, they suggest the once powerful release and the looming threat as pressure rebuilds, a synecdoche for certain forms of discipline and a site for resistance.