Acrylic and oil on canvas
168 x 128 cm
"The Great Portrait" betrays the genre its name suggests. Instead of rendering figurations, the artist pieced numerous unrelated objects in one work, including the human silhouette, stables, teapots, cabins, and buddha statues. These imageries are conjured on/in a "container" in the shape of sectioned human stomach. In the back of the "stomach" depiction, a draft of figure painting looms -- the draft should be in its most preliminary form. To align objects (in the "stomach") that traverse through time and space, pictorial and realistic logic, Shang might reflect a reality of social values of the 1990s' China -- fragmentary, splicing, and explorational. Shang Yang commented on this work: "In the typical Chinese cultural schema of 'The Great Portrait', I blend the improvisational emotions with fragmented information and feelings of the early 90s (China), in a certain pop-art method; what emphasized this experimental nature (of the work's meaning) is the unfinished state of the work. (Translated from Chinese)" (Lixiangguo, 尚扬——画风景，画的不仅仅是风景, September 21, 2018, available on https://www.sohu.com/a/255132355_686587) (Jerry Wu'23).