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Marty St. James in China

British Artist Marty St. James climbed Yellow Mountain, Anhui Province, Eastern China, and gave a drawing lesson on Chinese TV. Yellow Mountain is near Shanghai in the Huangshan region of China and literally means Yellow Mountain. It is a mountain range in the Anhui provence of eastern China with a peculiar set of shapes and peaks which make it look distinctly odd.


Thursday 10th October 2013 Art China Residency Up The Yellow Mountain up the mountain by cable car the month is November the sun is shining but the air is cold to the skin the car is over loaded with bags and people and artists we swing our way up the metal line the pod is straining and twisting and talking to the rollers

as they turn and mount the mount

Yellow Mountain works-in-progress, 2014 . Friday 11 October 2013 On top of Yellow Mountain…artists residency…Very high . Like being on top of a giant wedding cake. Everything is brought up 1500m by foot/hand. Amazing views. Scary scary heights. Not for a weak stomach! Cable car for half the journey up is pretty frightening alone! In the clouds with Chinese, French artists…

Saturday 12 October 2013 no birds arrive to greet us only the strange peaks of liquid solid like jelly trees sit in the strangest of places places not even a bird would dare to perch silhouetted against a hazy blue background we climb past and reach for the clouds

soon the clouds are below us the air goes thin and the grotto that’s yellow mountain arrives like a slow dawn Yellow Mountain Photograph 2, 2013, ‘C’ Type photographic print, 36″ x 18″ (90cm x 46cm) edition x 25 Sunday 13th October 2013 the haze blanks parts of the distant mountains as they rise out of the clouds the trees give little away to scale and size depth and precipice tourists on top of workmen sellers’ bankers’ government officials artists on top of mountains

yellow world reveals and hides itself against a background of dusk and dawn

China Yellow Mountain 1, 2013, Digital print on archival paper, 22″ x 30″ (56cm x 76cm) Edition x 10

China Yellow Mountain 2, 2013, Digital print on archival paper, 22″ x 30″ (56cm x 76cm) Edition x 10


I make sketches in these situations – or rather working notes as I think about the situation I am in and collect diary thoughts..also I need to consider and review the digital photographic images I make (both video and stills) that way I can start to arrange things on the wall and make compositional decisions.

Yellow Mountain no 1-10, 2013, Original hand drawn and signed by the artist. Pencil on Somerset paper. 15″ x 22″ (38cm x 56cm). Collect here.

Yellow Mountain Photograph 3, 2013, ‘C’ Type photographic print, 36″ x 18″ (90cm x 46cm) edition x 25

China Yellow Mountain 3, 2013, Digital print on archival paper, 22″ x 30″ (56cm x 76cm) Edition x 10

Yellow Mountain Photograph 1, 2013, ‘C’ Type photographic print, 36″ x 18″ (90cm x 46cm) edition x 25


The form that visual artist Marty St James’s work takes is that of a fragmentary or sequential nature resulting via digital video or digital photographic print technology and handmade drawings in energised mandala like systems.

The physical practice of movement across time and space and the notion of journey as found to be the components of a live performance are essential elements in his thinking and understanding of form. These notions of working with time, translating movement into non-static forms and vice versa, are a logical progression across his use of media, from live works to single tape videos, video portraits and digital works.

His works are in collections and have been in world-wide exhibitions including the National Portrait Gallery and Tate (London), Pompidou Centre (Paris), Museum of Photography (Tokyo), National Centre for Contemporary Art (Moscow), Chelsea Art Museum (New York) Tigre Museum (Buenos Aires) and Redtory (Beijing).

He has undertaken several international residencies, including (as described in his diary), ‘exhilarating and astonishing’ residencies/journeys to Antarctica (2010 and 2014).


Huángshān, literally “Yellow Mountain”, is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The range is composed of material that was uplifted from an ancient sea during the Mesozoic era, 100 million years ago. The mountains themselves were carved by glaciers during the Quaternary. Vegetation on the range is thickest below 1,100 meters (3,600 ft), with trees growing up to the treeline at 1,800 meters (5,900 ft).

The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly shaped granite peaks, Huangshan Pine trees, and views of the clouds from above. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of China’s major tourist destinations.


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