Lai Shengyu (39) and Yang Xiaogang (38) aka Tamen which means “they” in Mandarin. Lai and Yang were born in Hunan Province. They, “They”, stage outrageous, surrealistic scenes in paint and photo collage that star an ever-changing cast of characters. Within their triple framework, anything can appear—lucky charms, fashion models, watermelons, dice, monkeys, Oscar statuettes, landmark buildings, labourers. “We are called ‘they’ in the sense of ‘the others’, because it is not our own personal stories which stand at the center of our work,” say the pair.
Our pictures hold up a mirror to contemporary China. This mirror should not just show the outer layer of reality. We are much more concerned with the psychological effects of China’s rapid modernization on the people who live here.
Lai and Yang received post-graduate degrees from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in the Department of Printmaking, and are currently based in Beijing working at Beihang University (BUAA) in the Department of New Media Art. Tamen was founded based on the artists’ common understanding and ideal of contemporary art. Following old traditions, they spend a lot of time talking about the project and planning their exchanges before moving to pen and paper. Then they decide who is going to do which part of the final project, but with very flexible rules where one of them can add or change the work of the other.
More info: Yang gallery