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Angels From Hell

12/03/2008, By

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 1304 votes


Angels from Hell is the title of the exhibition of new paintings from Han Yajuan, which will surely strike a chord with every fashionista. Featuring cartoon like images of her cute, impish heroines, YaJuan captures the bling of designer labels. Using electric coloured oils she depicts the whirligig of glamour and shopping, travel and collecting, and of playtime and frivolity, with each image carrying her leitmotif of a little cow; a symbol of femininity.

Despite fashion logos littered throughout, as if sweeties in a sweetie shop there is a suggestion that shopping alone is not enough to bring happiness. These angelic images are totally captivating and are shown for the first time in St. James's, a stones throw from Bond Street, stamping ground of fashion houses and the fashionable. It should be a marriage made in heaven.

Born in 1980 in Nanjing, Han Yajuan graduated in 2002 at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, one of the most important institutions in the history of Chinese art. This summer she will then obtain a Masters degree at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing. Han Yajuan belongs to the first generation of artists who have matured in the more open China post-1989 and have not directly experienced the repressive effects of the Cultural Revolution.

This group of artists reflects the new feelings and aspirations of a very different cultural and political environment. Their work expresses vibrancy and youthfulness unencumbered by the memories of a harsher and more introverted national identity. Nonetheless, their art embodies the frustration and adversities of the Chinese youth living in a society in constant change.

Han Yajuan’s art expresses the fascination for high fashion and celebrity culture. Influenced by the cartoon culture, her paintings represent cute pixie girls with curved bodies accompanied by little cows which are the emblem of the fantasy world but also symbolize loyalty in Chinese tradition. Her works are the representation of different aspects of a girl’s life, such as childhood, femininity, loneliness and sexuality.

In Yajuan’s paintings girls are dancing, flying and dreaming while carrying Dior handbags and wearing Fendi bracelets. Although many older Chinese artists would use these emblems as means of criticizing Western influence on traditional China, Han Yajuan celebrates the exuberance and fun they bring to the young Chinese generation.

However, on a deeper level of understanding she declares the negative effects of a culture made of famous brands and appearance as they also bring loneliness and emptiness especially into the life of girls who then need to find refuge in a more comfortable imaginary dimension.

Han Yajuan has been recently exhibiting her works in some of the most famous art fairs and galleries around the world. She is one of the several emerging female artists Olyvia Oriental had the great fortune to represent since 2006. The next exhibition named ‘Angels from Hell’ will show the last series of Han Yajuan’s works which are framed succession of images creating visual short stories.

Over the last year Yajuan's paintings have trebled in price and are fetching record prices at the auction houses. Leading fashion houses buying her works include Fendi, Bulgari, and Ferregamo.

Olyvia Oriental is London's first gallery to specialise in Chinese avant garde artists; established two years ago by the glamorous and highly individual Olyvia Kwok. The gallery represents a comprehensive range of artists emerging from China, from the best known internationally collected alongside young, up and coming talents.

Clients include Trudy Styler, Elton John, Matt Dillon, Pierce Brosnan, Charles Saatchi, the British Museum, Merryl Lynch and Goldman Sacks.

17th to 25th April
Olyvia Oriental
17 Ryder Street
St. James's
London SW1Y 6PY
+44 (0)20 7925 2986

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