From Classic to Standard Pi Li 2007 Yang Mian’s early paintings depict the images from daily advertisements in his own way. Losing the previous shine, all the figures in his work are diminished and weakened into two-dimension in various skills by the artist, in another word, an unreal existence. Even these images are real, they still seem to hide behind a layer of artificial fog. All these undoubtedly reveal an illusionary aspect of different “standards” in our life. Here, smile is no longer an expression or emotional exteriorization, on the contrary, it’s just a mask, an indication of the distance between reality and dream. The more splendid it is, the more remote and unreachable the standard is. Eventually, all the essence of the paintings comes to the repeatedly emerging color line. If the delicate disposal of transient diminishment still keeps the raised veil for the audience to be close to beauty, the appearance of this color line seems to predict the irrevocable negation. We could even take it as an intentional damage, unmerciful affirmation of the distance between standard and real life. Yang defines the way of these works as “standard”. For him, “standard” means the incessant questioning of standard and reality. If these works present the standards pervading the society, the unspoken line is “who are the producer of these standards?” In the sense of sociology, the emergence of ad image is not to set up a certain standard, and smile itself is just a sort of temptation. The individual existence of these images may give the impression of superficialness, however, once they exist in overwhelming quantity, superficialness would be implied by blood complex, and deeply permeate the whole social sun-consciousness. Yang’s works hint the exceeding existence and blood complex’s hypocrisy in a teasing way. Based on this point, Yang’s works obtain more profound space of significance, presenting the individual features of artists of the new generation. As an odd combo, Yang’s painting is the integration of popular image, social critique and academicism. He refines these images in the skill of academic oil painting to realize a transformation in image instead of directly borrowing popular images. Among the artists of this generation cultivated in commercial culture, the relation between academicism and pop culture is like that between family culture and social culture, and the latter is usually more influential than the former. Therefore, Yang’s transformation leads to the two-way social critique, i.e. mockery of academicism and query of commercial culture. Along this thinking trend, among the newest exhibits, Yang leads his works to another direction, a.k.a. “classic”. Yang’s classic is not only classic of historical significance, but also contains the classic of consumption fashion. During the process, he continues the means of modifying previous images. On one hand, he sorts out his own background of knowledge, stylistically modifying the classic paintings in art history. He transforms the figures in works into abstract and two-dimensional ones, meanwhile turns the paintings of classicism into thinness and superficialness through bright colors and flat smearing. On the other hand, he processes the pictures of fashion photography, turning them into three-dimension. We could still strongly feel the two-dimensional interest from his sculptures. Compared with the previous works, these works are no long a simple attitude and critique about fashion and popularity. The artist turns his attention to visual art. No matter classic paintings in art history or classic photographs in fashion magazine, they are one part of the influence affecting out present vision and behavior. Here, “classic” is the extension of “standard”, yet the attention’s profundity has been strengthened. Yang simplifies the visual diversity in academic painting, meanwhile adds more visual pleasure into simple and straightforward fashion photograph. The core is to discuss the source and composition of our visual concept. If we say the series of “standard” emphasizes the present, the series of “classic” is concerned with the connection between the past and the present. In this sense, strong conceptuality is the conspicuous feature of these works. Meanwhile, compared with the series of “standard”, the series of “classic” is more complicated and meaningful in visual combination. Just like what I have been insisting, Yang’s works represent a more profound and rational interpretation of visual culture in contemporary society. Unlike political pop art, he doesn’t simplify and symbolize popular culture; unlike cartoon artists, he doesn’t put himself in the level lower than popular culture during research. Compared with gaudy art and political pop, he has deeper comprehension of popular culture. Instead of using existent images as a means, he regards them as the objects of his career. Therefore, he avoids a sort of danger, in another word, the tragic destiny of Chinese painters in the previous period, which means they were used by political and art agents such as western curators or gallery owners to twist normal and fair critical spirit in Chinese contemporary art into the annotation of western political concept and excuse of cultural invasion. Yang’s works reflect a two-way ideology, criticizing commercial culture and visual culture themselves, studying the concept and transforming vision. Actually, the problem is just so simple.