Huang Yong Ping / China b.1954 / Ressort 2012 / Aluminium, stainless steel / 53 metres (length) / Commissioned 2012 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Huang Yong Ping

Huang Yong PING

Not Currently on Display

Huang Yong Ping’s spectacular Ressort 2012 is part of a series of large-scale sculptures that depict a snake or dragon, a central symbol in Chinese culture as well as in Australia, and in many other cultures around the world. The work plays on different connotations of the snake, from creation and temptation to wisdom and deception.

Ressort (a French word meaning ‘spring’, but also ‘resilience’ and ‘energy’) epitomises Huang Yong Ping’s ability to offer an open interpretation while making deep connections to human experience and belief.

Born in Xiamen in southern China in 1954, Huang Yong Ping — along with artists such as Zhang Xiaogang and Xu Bing — was part of the first wave of students admitted to the newly reopened art academies following the Cultural Revolution (1966–76). While at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Huang had access to Western art and philosophy books and became interested in French postmodern theory and the work of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and Joseph Beuys. He also found connections between Taoist and Zen Buddhist thought, with its embrace of constant change, and the deconstructive, dematerialising strategies of Dada.

In 1986, he co-founded the avant-garde group Xiamen Dada, which staged several radical events, including the burning of paintings at the end of an exhibition and installing construction materials in a gallery instead of artworks. Since 1989, Huang has lived in Paris. As with many artists of his generation, he left China around the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre (4 June 1989), which heralded the end of the increasing openness of the Cultural Revolution.