In the Studio with Ye Linghan.

Words by

James Ambrose

In the Studio with Ye Linghan.

Can you tell us about the concept of your upcoming exhibitions in two spaces in Paris and introduce some of the works you have specially created for each of these two spaces?

I hope that the audience in Paris who are not familiar with me can get a general idea of what kind of artist Ye Linghan is through the exhibition. In the gallery space, I have created works from the LUCY series (a project that I have been working on for six years), as well as my early video works. In the Castle space, we will also represent works from the Lucy series which are more in tune with the architecture of the building.

Ye Linghan, LUCY-Z-001, Acrylic on canvas, 150x220cm, 2022

Looking back at your journey as an artist so far and going back to your upbringing, was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist? When was it?

When I was 8 years old, I remember very clearly, I was in the first year of elementary school. My parents that I should have some extra-curricular activities, and I chose painting. I was very good at drawing, and I liked drawing, so I decided that I wanted to be a great painter in the future. At that time, I didn't have the concept of "artist" in my mind. Since I started drawing at the age of 8, I have never stopped.

From some previous insights about your work and press, I realize that graffiti has greatly inspired you, is it not? Can you tell us specifically how and to what extent it influenced you?

I did street graffiti painting during my high school and university life. Graffiti has a way that allows creator quick escapes from the scene after creation, that is to prepare ahead a cardboard with patterns. You can simply spray the cardboard against the wall, take the cardboard and get out fast. I still use cardboard to create my paintings, but the process is much more complicated. That's why I use graffiti for my paintings.

Ye Linghan, LUCY-N-001, Acrylic on canvas, 80x40cm, 2022

The digital media plays an important role in your work, right?

When I started to create contemporary artworks, during my freshman year (2005), I was creating hand-drawn animation videos. And now I am creating some 3D animation videos. Digital media is a very contemporary material, and often you can only use it to express a specific concept in your mind.

Are there any specific artists that have made great impact on you and your work?

I like ancient Chinese artist such as Ni Zan and Ma Yuan, the primitive people who painted the caves of Lascaux France. And I like western artist such as Matisse, Grand Richter, Matthew Barney…… They all have influenced my art creation. I think many artists that have made greatb influence on me, and it is hard to point out a few in particular.

When you start to create a new piece of artwork, do you make composition and manuscript before the final creation, or do you directly paint on the canvas and revise it over and over again until you are satisfied?

I have invented my unique creation method, and name it "internet sketching" I will use squeegee and brush to repeatedly apply colors on a canvas until I am satisfied, then I will take out my phone, take a picture, input the picture into the computer, add some graphics to this picture (which is a partial picture I downloaded from the internet), and feel satisfied. After I am satisfied, I will start to make the cardboard with graphics, and paint the designed graphics on the canvas. After painting, I start to take pictures again, and repeat this action again and again. As the result, the final work that presents to the viewer is formed by very many layers superimposed on each other, and can be seen distinctly.

You have used many different materials and media in your art practice, what has made influence on what you choose to use and when you use it?
I think it is the expression that influences the medium I choose, different expressions require different media. For example, painting is the most direct art, what you see is what you get. But video may need to be interpreted, and the message it conveys can be completely different.

"Scale" (which I understand to be the size of the work) is something that stands out for me in your art practices, which can range from large installations to small, delicate works. Can you talk about the role that "scale" plays in your work?

I think the size is an empowerment given to me by modern productivity. I'm hardly looking for specific scales, it's the environment and the conditions that dictate them. My situation pushes me to do so.

The work that you create is so vibrant, what factors are you based on for your choice of colors? The cell phone screen and the computer screen influence my choice of colors, we are very limited in the colors we can see if we shift our vision to our daily life. There are many people like me who look at cell phones and computers much longer than the real world every day, and the images in my phone are the real scenery in my life.

Ye Linghan, LUCY-Z-006, Acrylic on canvas, 100x200cm, 2022
How do you usually spend your working day in the studio?

I usually get to the studio early, I like to work during the day and I like the sunshine. I'll make coffee or tea and sit in a little chair for half an hour to think about what I'm going to do today and how much I need to move my work forward. Then I would get to work. I will try to even out my workload work time each day because my paintings take long time to produce so I need more time to created limited number of works.

What do you think is the meaning of being an artist and what is your favorite way to create?

I don't know how to express it, but for me it's my mission. I've wanted to be an artist since I was 8 years old, and that's what I've been doing my whole life, a constantly working artist. That's all I want. The way I like to create is the way it is now, but of course I would like it more if it could slow down, which will help me to think. The world is moving too fast now.

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