Yan Wang is a British - Chinese artist based in West Yorkshire, UK. Previously working as an anesthetist in China, she moved to England in 2005 and has since completed a MA in Visual Arts at Leeds Metropolitan University. She is now completing a PhD in Photography at Plymouth University. Preston's work has been shown internationally and won many awards. In 2015, her project Mother River was nominated for the prestigious Prix Pictet competition. In 2014, Mother River won three awards the FORMAT International Portfolio Reviews. As part of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange, large-scale Mother River solo exhibitions were shown at Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum, Wuhan Art Museum and The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. A small-scale Mother River exhibition was also shown in the Swatch Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.







Mother River


Mother River (2010-2014) follows a strict “Y Points System”: to photograph one of China’s Mother Rivers, the Yangtze River, with a precise interval of every 100 kilometres. Measured at 6,211 kilometres long, the river provides 63 photographic locations for the single-minded artist-explorer. The Yangtze River’s journey through time witnesses the country’s human history through dynasties; its journey through space compresses all stages of economic and industrial development. To photograph it with the Y Points System makes Mother River into a modern time adventure and a repeated intellectual challenge. How could the photographer produce “meaningful” images at the pre-determined photo locations that cover such varied geographical ranges? Mother River is an epic pilgrimage paid by one of the Yangtze River daughters. Meanwhile, the project is an exhaustive exploration in issues around landscape photography and myths. How can such a methodology - the combination of a “scientific sampling” and a landscape pictorial strategy, contribute to the deciphering of myths, particularly a myth as rich and complicated as the Yangtze River, the Mother River?