Yu Youhan was born in Shanghai in 1943. He graduated from the Central Academy of Art and Design, Beijing in 1973. Now he resides and works in Shanghai. Along with Li Shan and Wang Guangyi, Yu Youhan is one of the main artists associated with “Political Pop” aesthetics which emerged in the avant-garde movement in the 1990’s, this unique style fused Chinese iconography with Western artistic expression. His work has had a major impact on the cultural scene as well as influenced and inspired a generation of younger artists. Yu Youhan’s earlier work is directly influenced by his experiences during the Cultural Revolution, with prominent imagery of political propaganda and socialist realism. Before constructing this pictorial universe, he practiced an informal and materialist abstraction. His work unravels and reconstructs the meandering histories of diverse environments. As reflected in his pictures, Yu Youhan employs an aesthetic methodology that blends and exceeds seemingly contradictory visual traditions. He earned fame with his highly acclaimed Mao portrait series. He has decorated the iconic images with flowers that blend into the foreground and background. It is not only a decorative gesture, but also an attempt to humanize the late leader.
Yu Youhan has recently shifted his artistic approach in search of a new paint language and subject matter. His latest work consists of landscape paintings that resemble pastorals of a forgotten utopia. Yu Youhan’s extensive oeuvre combines multiple perspectives and investigates the structure of cultural identity in China through an ongoing exploration of various pictorial techniques. His paintings remain ubiquitous yet intriguing.

Yu Youhan
Yu Youhan
Shanghai, 1943

Past Exhibitions

Yu Youhan

Power Station of Art
24/12/2016 — 26/03/2017


ShanghART West Bund
10/11/2016 — 15/02/2017

The world is yours, as well as ours

White Cube Mason’s Yard
15/07/2016 — 10/09/2016

M+ Sigg Collection: Four Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art

M+ West Kowloon Cultural District
23/02/2016 — 05/04/2016

Solo Shows

YU Youhan: Yībān, YU Youhan’s First Solo Exhibition in Beijing, Yuan Space, Beijing

YU Youhan: Home, Bi-Cities: Solo Exhibitions of Chinese New Painting, Tian Ren He Yi Art Center, Hangzhou

Yu Youhan’s Paintings, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai

Group Shows

Abstraction and Beyond: A Research-Based Tour Exhibition of Chinese Art, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai
The World is Yours, as well as Ours, White Cube, London, U.K.
Geomancy-ink changing–Misreading and Regeneration of Chinese Ink, Alioth Art Center, Shanghai
New Capital, Huang Yu Collection Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu, Chengdu
Too Loud A Solitude, Stalkers of Chinese Contemporary Art, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

City Vision, 2015 Shanghai Artists’ Works Exhibition, Cloud Art Center, Shanghai
Elixir, Biennale Italia-China 2015, Turin, Italy
Garden Splendors, Chinese Cotemporary Art Invitational Exhibition, Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum

Just as Money is the Paper, the Gallery is the Room, Osage Gallery, Shanghai
Broken. Stand, The New Painting to Order, Long Museum, Shanghai
Hans van Dijk: 5000 Names, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Original Home, JIA Pingwa Culture and Art Center, Xi’an, Shanxi
Re-View, Opening Exhibition of Long Museum West Bund, Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai
A Fragment in the Course of Time, Landscape of Chinese Ink Art in 1980s, Himalayas Art Museum, Shanghai
5 Plus, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing
Starlight, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Shanghai Country of birth: China Date of birth: 1943 Lives in: Shanghai, China