He is a painter best known for his near-abstract portraits of deformed, ghostly creatures in red and pink (and more recently blue) hues. Yang initially worked in a cynical Realist style. The recurring use of red in his work symbolizes human vitality, capitalist greed, as well as the iconography of the Cultural Revolution. In a recent series of paintings and sculptures titled X-Blind Spot (2004), Yang examines the living conditions of coal mining communities in Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, and Mongolia.
His work has been exhibited at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, the Long March Space in Beijing, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, among other institutions. He currently lives and works in Beijing China.