An extraordinary figure hailing from Shanghai, Yu Youhan is one of the very few trailblazers of the region who braved the challenge of bridging the East with the West and was also one of the first contemporary Chinese artists to delve into abstraction.
Yu Youhan experimented with abstraction as early as the 1980's and commenced his monochromatic Circle Series in 1985. 1990-5 (Lot 1037) was executed in 1990, the last year of the transitional period from the artist's investigation of the abstract and subsequently into the Pop aesthetic, thus representing the full maturation of his decade-long endeavours in abstraction.
Within the phase during which Yu Youhan was suspended in the abstract, the first eight years were spent in making monochromatic pictures and it wasn't until after 1988 that he began to introduce colour into these compositions. 1990-5 is an exceptional example from this period, where each brushstroke was applied in a host of warm colours against a blue background, disseminating gradually from the upper left to the lower right. Charged with the momentum of ink caught in a gravitational pull, the little stripes surge ahead, themselves metaphors for the currents of nature or even forces of the universe.
Not only rare in its dynamic use of colours, 1990-5 is one of the larger works from the series. It marks also the pivotal stage at which the Yu Youhan has moved from pure abstraction into Political Pop. Deriving its composition from the earlier and the chromatic system from the latter, this painting is a beautiful amalgam of the two. A theoretical contradiction brought together so delightfully, 1990-5 is a testament to the artist's incessant search for his very own artistic language.
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