Wang Yin, The Short Story Magazine & Tombs, Oil on canvas, 180×140cm, 1993

The 1993 The Short Story Magazine series grounded Wang Yin’s essential questions he thereon addressed in the practice of painting: how has the oil painting, this foreign “species” evolved into its current state in China. Wang Yin’s approach is to place this artistic medium in a greater context that is, the contemporaneity of the entire Chinese society, in understanding its evolutionary relationships with the entire cultures and society.

In the painting The Short Story Magazine & Tombs, The Short Story Magazine was a literary periodical founded in 1910, after the May Fourth Movement, where Mao Dun, Zheng Zenduo, Ye Shengtao have been its editor-in-chief, during this period, it has become the critical promoters for new literature in China. And the figure in this image was drawn from Wang Yin’s impression of farmers from other works of art, whose lackadaisical or idle composure does not match the typical farmer class seen in socialist art and literature, yet who wore the popular hat from the Cultural Revolution period. The Tombs, was the title of Lu Xun’s first collection of essays, published in 1927, and in 1993 was the year this painting was completed. As much as this work on canvas embodies certain expressionist style, its color palette is replete of impressions for “earthy oil painting”. In such a way, Wang Yin has stacked together Chinese modern artistic and cultural experience of the entire 20th Century.

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