Lives and works in Paris
Born in 1975 in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, Yang has been dancing since his early childhood. He began professional dance training at China People’s Liberation Army Arts Institute’s (PLAI) Dance Academy from 1988.
Yang was among the top eight of Youth Folk Dancers in the 4th National Arts Academy Taoli Cup Dance Competition. He graduated from PLAI with a distinction and became a lead dancer at No. 2 Artillery Art Troupe of China People’s Liberation Army.
He joined Beijing Modern Dance Ensemble in 1997, and he was chief dancer in many group performances and duets. As an international artist, he was invited to perform in a dance drama by Adelaide City Arts Academy in Australia. In 2000, he joined Ms Jin Xing as her co-dancer and assistant to establish Jin Xing Contemporary Dance Ensemble in Shanghai. Yang was invited to join France Ballet Du Nord in 2001. He then moved to France’s world-renowned Ballet Preljocaj in September 2002.
Yang embarked on his career as a photographer from 2006. He produced “Living Dance”, a series of his early work and held a tour in many cities and regions in France from 2009 to 2010. The picture album under the same name was published by Seguier, a French publisher, in 2011. Yang started fashion photography in 2011 and has since been working with GQ, Vogue and ELLE Men in China.
“Is it because I chose dance that my life evokes such a great divide? A permanent but harmonious tension between two opposite poles?
A great gap between my native China and my adopted country France, between the beginnings firmly framed by the strict discipline of the army dance troupe, in the idea that art serves politics, and then, the discovery of the body and all its possibilities and of the individual in all his freedom.
It is these oppositions that made me mature as an individual and as an artist, and these contradictions that make me the man I am now.
I have been in the dance world for thirty years; thirty years of continuous training, of perfecting the body, of learning its anatomy, thirty years of working towards perfection. The body, what a wonderful object – one of the most integral and fundamental subject matters since ancient times! The subject of the body in dance and in art is what sets me on my quest to transpose my work from art to photography.
As I aim to capture the beauty of the moving body on a stage, I now aim to do so with a camera lens. By capturing these moments of grace and of movement, acquired with so much effort yet executed with such ease, I allow them to be relived again and again by the spectator. I let their beauty impact the beholder.
For 9 years now, I have been devoting myself to this new artistic research around the body, constantly looking for new settings for it. This has led me to move it from its usual environment, that of stages and projectors, to natural and grandiose settings, most commonly in Iceland. There, the naked body can freely commune with nature, like two sublime creations that are found under an infinite sky and without constraint. »