Yang Jian studied fine arts at the Art College of Xiamen University. From 2009 to 2010 he stayed as Artist-in-Residence at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam with a scholarship of the Stichting Niemeijer Fonds.
His works have been exhibited internationally, among others 2005 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2007 at the Festival Licht Feld 7 in Basel, 2009 in the online project Imagine Art After der Tate Britain, London, 2010 at the Culturescapes Festival in Basel, 2011 at CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2013 at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014 at National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2016 at Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai, 2018 at Nam June Paik Art Center, Seoul, the Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, as well as at the 6th International Art Exhibition in Shanghai. Guangzhou Trienniale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou. In 2015 he was awarded the special prize of the jury of the Huayu Youth Award.
Known for his art concerns deeply about the social reality, Yang Jian doesn’t, however, assert immediately any affirmative judgment over the real events. Instead, he passes to the viewers the power of judge and examination as much as possible after engineering and switching on his work, an accessible structure that embodies the contradictory and tensile relationship that lies apart from the apparent reality and is discovered and extracted ingeniously by him.