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The Empty City: Fragrant Creek

Yun-Fei Ji

Contemporary Art

The Empty City: Fragrant Creek is from a series that comments on the fate of the cities, towns, and villages along the Yangtze River that were evacuated ahead of the flooding expected from the Three Gorges Dam in China. The main subject here is the river itself, meandering through the entire image. On its banks, caught amid tangled vegetation, are the remains of former human habitation; we are witnessing the brutal results of forced displacement. Eventually, the coming flood will submerge this scene.

Despite the highly contemporary references, the artist has chosen to use traditional Chinese techniques and visual symbolism. He uses layered mulberry paper, applying ink, watercolor, and mineral pigments, and often distresses the paper by overworking it.
MEDIUM Mineral pigments on xuan paper Use for wall label: Watercolor on paper
DATES 2003
DIMENSIONS sheet: 59 1/4 × 37 1/2 in. (150.5 × 95.3 cm) frame: 62 1/2 × 41 1/2 × 2 1/2 in. (158.8 × 105.4 × 6.4 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr., by exchange
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Yun-Fei Ji (born China, 1963). The Empty City: Fragrant Creek, 2003. Mineral pigments on xuan paper Use for wall label: Watercolor on paper , sheet: 59 1/4 × 37 1/2 in. (150.5 × 95.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr., by exchange, 2005.18. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2005.18_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2005.18_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2019
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