Each month (or thereabouts!) one of the art.earth Directors chooses an artist-member to be featured as Artist of the Month. This month’s featured artist, selected by Richard Povall, is Yan Wang Preston
Header image: Making the red line (Yangtze River, China, 2011)
What are you working on at the moment?
Since changing my career from an anaesthetist to a photographic artist in 2005, I have always been interested in the contest ideas of nature in contemporary societies. My projects turned to evolve around keywords such as landscape, nature, geography and politics. My two completed major projects include: Mother River (2010-2014), for which I photographed the entire 6,211km Yangtze River at precise 100km intervals as a way to challenge the existing pictorial idea of Yangtze as the Mother River of China; and Forest (2010-2017), for which I explored the questionable nature of reforestation and ecology recovery projects in two Chinese cities. My primary artistic output is large-format landscape photographs in exhibitions and books. My research often adopts a ‘deep-mapping’ methodology, using comprehensive sources of information and an embodied experience to collect necessary knowledge about the subject matter.
Having had a couple of years of making publications and exhibitions, this year I will start research and development for a new project. It will be a long and slightly-messy process, but my starting point is to investigate the idea and practice of rewilding—a progressive conservation approach seeking to enable natural processes to regain control over the ecosystem. Since rewilding projects turn to be multidisciplinary, I am hoping to develop a new, collaborative working methods and more multimedia output. It will be a while before I arrive at some keywords to work on. But I’m excited to explore the new wilderness, the freed rivers and the re-constructed natural environment.
What drives you as an artist?
I suppose it is the sense of freedom, restless curiosity, the desire to explore and to tell stories.
Who/what has particularly inspired you?
My inspiration comes from many different directions: the power, beauty and brutality of nature and life; people who can transcend fear and make remarkable, yet unrealistic, achievements, such as the climbing legend Lynn Hill who made the first free ascent on The Nose, El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, and the artist Thomas Joshua Cooper who surveyed the entire Atlantic Basin for his project Atlas of Emptiness & Extremity.