Chen Qiulin
  • About
  • Biography
  • Exhibitions
  • Artworks
    • Sculpture
    • Installation
    • Video
    • Photography
    • Print
  • Articles
  • Chen Qiulin
  • Birthdate: 1975
    Birthplace: China | Hubei
    Gender: Female
    Lives and Works in: China | Sichuan
    About:
    Chen Qiulin is one of the younger generation of Chinese contemporary artists, employing a variety of medias including video, photography, installations and so on. Her works have not only participated series of important international and domestic group / sole exhibitions in Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Max ProtetchGallery, Long March Space, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Honolulu Museum of Art, but also collected by many domestic and overseas art museums and private collectors. Her works often concern about the marginalized populations and cultures in China's urbanization process, through which she thinks about now by telling old stories.
    Education:
    2000    Graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Department of Printmaking
  • Biography
  • Awards

    2017        Loop Award of loop art fair 2017

    2010        The Fourth Annual AAC Award for the Most Influential Participants of Chinese Art 2009-the Annual Young Artist (Nominated)

    Reshaping History Academic Award (Nominated)

    2008       First Asian World Women Forum Rising Talents Programme Nominee

    2006 Asian Cultural Council, Starr Foundation Fellowship

    2005 Emerging Artist Prize, Biennale Internationale d'Art Contemporain Chinois, Montpellier-Chine

     

    Collections

    Astrup Fearnley Museum, Norway

    Denver Art Museum, USA

    Logan Collection, USA

    T-BA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Austria

    Hammer Museum, USA

    Worcester Art Museum, USA

    Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Australia

    The Art Museum of China Central Academy of Fine Arts,BeiJing,China

    ……

     

     

     

    1975 Born in Hubei Province, China

    2000 Graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Department of Printmaking

    Currently lives and works in Chengdu and Beijing

     

    Solo Exhibitions

    2018      Chen Qiulin:Another Day,A Thousand plateaus Art Museum,Chengdu,China

    2018      Chen Qiulin: Perpermint, A4 Art Museum,Chengdu,China

    2017      Chen Qiulin: Another Kind of Ruin, OCAT Xi’an, Xian, China


    2016      Chen Qiulin: One Hundred Names, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia

    2015      Chen Qiulin, Art Basel in HK, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, China

    2014      Chen Qiulin Solo Exhibition: The Empty City, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China

              Chen Qiulin: The Empty City, Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii, USA

    Art Stage Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

    2012       Chen Qiulin: Selected Works, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

    Empty & City, Hong Kong International Art Fair, Hong Kong

    2011        Chen Qiulin—Then and Now: 2002 - 2011, Hong Kong International Art Fair 2011, Hong Kong

    2009        Chen Qiulin, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA

    Chen Qiulin, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, USA

    2007 Chen Qiulin: Recent Work, University Art Museum of University at Albany, New York, USA

    The Garden, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, USA

    2006     Migration, Long March Space, Beijing, China

    2005 Big Factory, 1918 Art Space, Shanghai, China

    2004 The Tofu of February 14th, Blue House Art Centre, Chengdu, China

    2002 Internet Affairs, 31 Bookstore, Chengdu, China

     

    Selected Group Exhibitions

    2018     Hyundai Blue Prize, ”sustainability” Award Exhibition, Hyundai Motorstudio, Beijing,

              China

             Aquatopia, CFCCA, Manchester, England

             Cincinati AAC Group Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art, Cincinati, Ohio, USA

             Cosmopolis#1.5:Enlarged Intelligence in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou,Chengdu,China.

         10th Anniversary Exhibition of A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China

     

    2016     No Early or Late, Pace Beijing, Beijing, China

             That Has Been and May Be Again, Parasite Art Space, Hong Kong

     

    2015      3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Iset Hotel, Yekaterinburg, Russia

                 Insight& Film: Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

                 CHRISTIE'S +86 First Open, The Temple House, Chengdu, China

                 Wind Veers to The East—BOAO Asian Art Exposition, BOAO Folk Garden for Asian, Hainan, China

     

    2014     Translated Concussion, Chinese New Media Art Techniques and Practice since 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu, Chengdu, China

             Inspired by the Opera: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Video, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago,Chicago,USA

    Cheng Qiulin & Ma qingyun Double Solo Exhibition, TELESCOPE Art Space, Beijing. China.

     

    2013        Break Through - Work by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Maine, USA

                Trans media Art and Fashion Exhibition, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

                People’s Park, Art Basel in Hong Kong, Hong Kong

    Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography, San Jose Museum of Art,

    CA, USA

    2012        Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography, Katonah Museum of Art/ Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, NY/ Illinois, USA

    Perspectives 180 - Unfinished Country: New Video From China, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), Houston, USA

    Top of Fashion - 1st Female Art Invitational Exhibition, Enjoy Museum of Art, Beijing, China

    Memento Mori, Arario Gallery Beijing, BeiJing, China

    2011        Flower, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China

    Moving Image in China:1988-2011, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China

    Chengdu Biennale 2011 - Blueroof Artists Sculpture Exhibition, Chengdu Blueroof Art Gallery, Chengdu, China

    Half of The Sky: Chinese Contemporary Female Art, Leonard Pearlstein Museum, Philadelphia, USA

    Tales of Our Time: Two Contemporary Artists of China: Chen Qiulin & Weng Fen, Cal State University Northridge, Art Galleries, USA

    Time and Memory, 3812 Contemporary Art Projects, Hong Kong

    Under Construction - Chen Qiulin and Yang Yi, Verso Artecontemporanea, Turin, Italy

    Unable Absence - Winshare Art Museum Opening Exhibition, Winshare Art Museum, Chengdu, China

    Human Frames, Substation, Singapore/ KUNST-IM-TUNNEL, Dusseldorf, Germany

    2010        Persisting and Exploring: Chengdu Art Academy 30-Year Anniversary Art Works

    Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

    Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art, Nasher Museum of Duke University, Durham, USA

    The Land Between Us, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, Manchester, England

    Fat Art 2010, Sanlitun Village, Beijing, China

    Reshaping History: Chinart from 2000 to 2009, China National Convention Center, Beijing, China

    The 4th Beijing International Art Biennale, National Fine Arts Museum of China, Beijing, China

    Across The Horizon - The Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art, The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile

    2009        The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (ATP6), Queensland Art Gallery  Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia

    Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art, Salt Lake Art Centre, Salt Lake City, USA

    Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: Video Work by Gao Shiqiang and Chen Qiulin, Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA

    Independent Project: Chen Qiulin Installation Work - Boat, Chengdu Arts Home, Chengdu, China

    Obstruction, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China

    A Certain Kind of Post-Modernism, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China

    Up Close, Far Away: Junge Chinesische Kunst, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, Germany

    Flower Power, Villa Giulia, Verbania, Italy

    YIPAI, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

    2008       Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

    Dwelling Place - 2008 Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, Hong-Gah Museum, Taiwan

    Creative Emergencies: Waste, Water and Energy in International Contemporary Art, MAR Ravenna Museum of Art, Ravenna, Italy
    The 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea
    Art Trash, Inart Space, Tainan, Taiwan

    Two Chinas: Chen Quilin and Yun-Fei Ji, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

    China Power Station Part III, MUDAM Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

    Look At Me! The Performative Impulse in Recent Chinese Photography, Williams Center Art Gallery, Easton, Pennsylvania, USA

    ZHù YI! China Actual Photography, Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, Spain

    Saving Lives with Art, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China

    Building Code ViolationsⅡ, Long March Space, Beijing, China

    Prisma: Aspekte Zeitgenoessischer Chinesischer Medienkunst, Kunstraum Palais Porcia, Vienna, Austria
    Echoes: Chengdu New Visual Art Documentary Exhibition 1989-2007, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China
    China Power Station Part II, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway

    Red Hot - Asian Art Today from the Chaney Family Collection, MFAH The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA
    ZHù YI! Chinese Contemporary Photography, Artium-Basque Centre Museum of Contemporary Art, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
    Starting From The Southwest: Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Southwest China 1985-2007, Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou, China

    The Four Directions of Speaking and Hearing: Guizhou Biennial, Guiyang Museum, Guiyang, China

    2006 This Is Not For You - Sculptural Discourses, T-BA21 Collection, T-BA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria

    Ruins: New Photography and Video from China, Inova at Uwm Peck School of the Arts,

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Great Performances: Contemporary Chinese Photography, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, USA

    All Look Same? Art from China, Japan and Korea, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
    Internal InjuriesⅡ, Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy
    The 10th Anniversary Exhibition of the Chinese Contemporary Art Gallery, Chinese Contemporary Art Gallery, Beijing, China
    Women in a Society of Double Sexuality, Tang Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand

    2005 The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, China Millennium Monument Art Museum, Beijing, China
    The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery/ The University at Buffalo Art Galleries, Buffalo, New York
    Montpellier / Chine: 1st International Biennale of Chinese Contemporary Art in Montpellier, Montpellier, France  

                Loft Of Language: Eight Female Artists in China, Three Quarters Gallery, Beijing, China

                On Going: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Shenzhen Sculpture Institute, Shenzhen, China

    Blue House Artists Contemporary Art Exhibition, Chinese Contemporary Art Gallery, Beijing, China

    After 1970: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China
    Internal Injuries, Marella Gallery, Beijing, China

    Chinese Characters Art Exhibition: 20 Years of Modern Chinese Calligraphy, China Millennium Monument Art Museum, Beijing, China

    The 6th Open International Performance Art Festival, Chengdu, China
    Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China

    Inward Gazes: Chinese Performance Art Documentary Exhibition, Macao Art Museum, Macao
    Art Basel in Miami, Miami, Florida, USA

    China-Wochen: Junge Chinesische Kunst, Neue Galerie Landshut, Landshut, Germany

    2004 Picture Talking: Experimental Video Art Exhibition, Kunming, China

    Uninterrupted - 04: Chinese Construction Site Exhibition, Chongqing, China

    Celebrating Women: Inaugural Exhibition of IMOW, San Francisco, USA
    Nation Complex Contemporary Art Exhibition, Duolun Museum, Shanghai
    Ten Gross Brick Contemporary Art Exhibition, Blue Dreamland Gallery, Chengdu, China

    2003 Experiences Of Old Liberated Areas: Contemporary Art Exhibition: Zhu De Memorial Museum, Yilong, China

    Listening to Women Telling Men's Stories, Chongqing, China

    Philosophy of White and Black: Modern Art Exhibition, Chengdu Stadium, Chengdu, China
    China-Japan Performance Art Festival, Chengdu Academy of Fine Arts, Chengdu , China
    135m135m: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Sichuan Art Museum, Chengdu , China

    Plural Viewpoints: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Art Scene Gallery, Shanghai, China

    2002 Existence - Sublimation: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Atelier of He Duoling, Chengdu, China
    Harvest: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, National Agricultural Exhibition Centre, Beijing, China

    2001 Parabola: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Antelope Gallery, Chengdu, China

     

    Projects

    2009        Rite of Spring, Integrated Art Programme (Contemporary Dance and Video Art), cooperated with French choreographer Heddy Maalem.

    Produced by: Embassy of France in China, Consulate General of France in Chengdu, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space and Sichuan Song And Dance Troupe

    Performance Tour: Chengdu and Beijing, China, May 2009; Culturescapes China 2010 European Tour, October 2010

     

    Lecture

    s

    2010        Artist Talk: Chen Qiulin, Nasher Museum of Duke University, Durham, USA

    Chen Qiulin in Conversation, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

    2009        Chinese Contemporary Art Culture-Chen Qiulin and Young Experimental Artists in Chengdu, National School of Fine Arts at the Villa Arson, Nice, France

    2008        Chinese Contemporary Art Culture-Chen Qiulin, Sichuan Conservatory Of Music, Chengdu, China

    2007        Chinese Contemporary Art Culture-Chen Qiulin, China Institute, New York, USA

    The Dualism of Chinese Female Art, FWAsia, New York, USA

    Chinese Contemporary Art Culture-Chen Qiulin, The Seminar of Remodeling Asian Culture at Columbia University, New York, USA

     

     

    Exchange

     

    2007        March-September, 2007, ACC (Asian Cultural Council), New York, USA

    2009        March-April, 2009, National School of Fine Arts at the Villa Arson, Nice, France

    2010        October-December, 2010, Very Exchange Project-VT + Taipei Artist Village, Very Tempo Artsalon (VT) /Taipei Artist Village, Taipei

     

    Books

    2008 Cate McQuaid, Flooded land Common Ground: Painting and Video Focus on China’s Three Gorges, The Boston Globe, (March 30).

    2007     Debra Singer, On the Ground: New York, Artforum, (December): p. 284-289.

                Samir S. Patel, Chen Qiulin at Max Protetch, ArtAsiaPacific, (September - October).  Migration, NY Arts, (vol. II no. 11/12).

    2006 James Meyer, The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Artforum, (April): p. 238-239.

    2005     Minglu Gao, The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

  • Exhibitions
  • Artworks
    • Farewell Poem | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 122 × 153 cm | 2007

    • I am an Angel No.3 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 125 × 157 cm | 2006

    • I am an Angel No.2 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 125 × 157 cm | 2006

    • I am an Angel No.1 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 125 × 157 cm | 2006

    • Green Landscape Series No.1 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 157 × 125 cm | 2006

    • Green Landscape Series No.2 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 157 × 125 cm | 2006

    • I love Beijing Tian'anmen No.2 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 100 × 192 cm | 2006

    • I love Beijing Tian'anmen No.1 | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 100 × 192 cm | 2006

    • River, River | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 36.5 × 202 cm | 2005

    • Site | Chen Qiulin

      Photography | 66.5 × 242 cm | 2005

  • Articles
    • Ruins, Life Styles and Our Natural Surroundings

      Original Author: Wang Min’an

      The use of disguise and make up to transform her appearance and identity is a constant feature of Chen Qiulin’s work. She has dressed as a number of female characters, including an angel, a traditional Chinese beauty, a classical ‘lianpu’ opera figure, a modern dancer and a ghostlike devil figure. Why does she assume all these different identities? And why does she appear to be in this continuous state of transition? Those who constantly change appearance normally wish to express a different aspect of them selves. It is often an attempt to discover the different possibilities hidden and unlocked within oneself, even a questioning of the very concept of the ‘self’. However, the different disguises of Chen Qiulin aim at uncovering something else entirely. Neither solipsistic experiment nor personal quest, she hopes, through linking her disguised characters to the environment surrounding them, to open up a dialogue with the natural world, and it is the relationship between these two that her ultimately work focuses on.

       

      What kind of ‘environment’ are we talking about? Throughout her work, Chen Qiulin has chosen many different kinds, but she often places her characters against a background of urban decay.  This could be a construction site at the edge of the city, an area that is just being pulled down and demolished or the ruins of a city from which the inhabitants are in the process of leaving. In all these environments we can feel the destructive force of man. Mud, debris and rubble shape a wrecked and dilapidated environment. And it is into these surroundings there emerges a beautiful young girl, immaculately dressed. Radiating youth and beauty, she appears in sharp contrast with her surroundings, her presence amplified by the stark environment behind her. This crumbling environment serves as the setting for beauty, yet, we could also say that it is the girl’s beauty that serves as the setting for ruin and decay. It is this juxtaposition that serves to heighten both the sense of beauty and decay, and also creates a kind of qualitative contradiction. The girl sits in the foreground, attends to her own image, applying make-up, enhancing, strengthening her own beauty. The neglected rubble that surrounds her, however, is left only to further decay, evoking a pervasive sense of the perishableness of things. In this series of pictures by Chen Qiulin, we can see these two forces working against each other. Interconnected, they create an enormous amount of tension, a collision of the future and the past, of hope and despair, of vigor and decay, positivity and hopelessness.

       

      In this way we can explain why Chen Qiulin sits dressed as a beautiful young maiden (an angel) and places herself amidst this rubble. By the very presence of a beautiful young woman in the picture, we become more acutely aware of the crumbling reality around her. Chen Qiulin sees nature and the environment as the starting point for her works. In these photographs, the female figure and her decrepit environment go hand in hand in challenging our perception of the relationship between humanity and nature. In these photographs, the girl pays no attention to her surroundings. Although surrounded by debris, she remains completely self absorbed, oblivious to the world around her. And in the cold indifference of this girl lies the irony of these images. We dress ourselves up in a world that has been destroyed. We demolish our environment, while simultaneously beautifying ourselves. We are passionate when it comes to our own personality but indifferent where our environment is concerned. We create such juxtaposition between ourselves and our environment and yet, don’t seem to care. In a way, this series of images can be seen as an allegory for our times. In order to construct our own personalities, we have let the world around us go to ruin.

       

      Where this series is full of irony, another is filled with sensitivity. Enormous changes in the environment and natural world have created a certain malaise among human beings. The city in which Chen Qiulin once lived is now being demolished (the reason not important) and she has managed to record this process. The chance to record the complete demolition of a city is a rare event, and the series is therefore imbued with extraordinary significance. Normally, we can witness how cities are gradually constructed, we can see skyscrapers being built and we can even observe how completely new cities are constructed in a number of years. But people very rarely have the opportunity to witness the total destruction of a city, to see skyscraper after skyscraper being pulled down. Yet, in one sense, to witness deconstruction is also to witness construction. By seeing how a city is demolished, we can see how it was constructed. Of greater importance however, is that the demolition and disappearance of a city is not simply the leveling of buildings, the disappearance of a physical habitat and its natural surroundings, it is also the demolition and disappearance of a way of life. 

       

      This series of Chen Qiulin’s work is an elegy to a demolished city, lamenting a way of life that has already passed away. This elegy has been given an operatic rendition by the artist as she places classical opera figures amidst the city’s ruins, the slow rhythm of the opera emphasizing the sudden swiftness of the city’s destruction. This slowness also refers to the slowness of a certain way of living, to a kind of inner slowness (look at how few people today are still interested in opera!). Chen Qiulin introduces classical opera, clothing, make up and a way of living into her works by juxtaposing them with modern urban life. Classically dressed performers dance amidst the wreckage of modern cities, the rubble having become their new stage, and ironically their final resting place, as their classical traditions no longer have a place in modern society. 

       

      The appearance of these classically attired performers in a modern city experiencing rapid transformation creates a quite farcical atmosphere. In this image we can also see the huge importance of time in Chen Qiulin’s work: the only possible way for these classical figures to appear in modern urban life is as a kind of bizarre spectacle. There is a great conflict between these figures and the environment in which they find themselves. Again, the environment and natural surroundings do not merely serve as external decoration, and they are a crucial factor in understanding Chen Qiulin’s works. Our environment determines how we live our lives, and in her other works we again see characters appearing in incongruous surroundings. Some oddly dressed young people wander in a colourfully decorated space. In this composition, man, space and the environment all appear on the one distorted stage, drawn together by their shared affectation. This relationship between man and his environment is intimate in the way that the relationship between the classical female performers and urban degeneration is contradictory. 

       

      The transformation of cities, the environment and nature are all connected to the transformation of how we live our lives. What is being demolished and destroyed is not only the city, but also a certain way of living. Because of this, we need to reach a new understanding of our environment. Today, due to acknowledging man’s inextricable relationship with his natural surroundings, we have a shared appreciation for the need to protect the environment. People even consider the environment their home. Chen Qiulin shares these ideas and common understanding, and many of her works are proof of this. She brings children into direct contact with different environments and directly immerses the physical body in the environment. The body becomes thus an intrinsic element of the environment. By using tofu to write on grass, she demonstrates the weakness and fragility of nature. But according to her, this understanding is not yet sufficient in order to protect our environment.

       

      In Chen Qiulin’s works, it is important to make clear that our natural environment is nothing other than our cultural and social environment. Nature and culture are intrinsically linked to each other, and people should stop trying to separate them. Nature is just another aspect of our vast cultural environment. We see the damage the natural world has sustained. This damage is not only natural damage but also cultural. It is equally true that damage to our cultural environment not only affects the cultural but also the natural world as well. A large part of our nature has suffered considerable damage- is this not exactly because our cultural environment has been thrown upside down?

       

      May 2008

       

       

    • Painting Angels could be regarded as Making a Living; Believing in angels is a Faith (excerpt) —Xiong Yu, Angel in City 2009

      Original Author: Zheng Naiming

      In 2006, Xiong Yu accomplished the work named “Portrait in the Woods-No. 2”, which was rarely commented. However, it should have two different kinds of symbols in the creating period of “Running on Tranquilly”.First, dyeing techniques similar with ink (In his new work in 2009, he found a representation to make this technique more syncretic with classical style). Second, it can be regarded as classic representation in Xiong Yu’s youth. The method of pointing, pressing and washing can be seen in the silhouette treatment of white flowers on the foreground and plants on the background. Therefore, space will not show a kind of unprovoked agitation with the motives of branches of the plants. Especially, the description of Character in the painting and clear expression in their eyes symbolize that there is no burden of gravity to life for youth and complete inconsideration of future. In this work, it is deduced briskly that lives absolutely have no experience of community, by the expression of character’s eyes and layout of the scene.

       

      In 2009, in a work named “worker”, Xiong Yu no longer lets outside to fide or sniff the life atmosphere of elegant fantasy of the past. In this work of Xiong Yu, firstly, the expatiation of color is no longer a simple black and white melody as before. He let protagonist's clothes on the painting have a different color. Space is also changed——protagonist steps out of the woods and waterscape where he used to indulge in, exposes in interior space of a factory. Oppressive and embarrassing feelings are obvious in the atmosphere. Protagonist holds a shovel in the hands, the high collar of the clothes was pulled to cover nose and mouth. The large plate is drooped that, on the faces of the protagonist, only eyes are exposed. If you watch carefully, it should be found that Xiong Yu no longer endue character in painting with pure and clear expression in their eyes, instead, with a pair of slightly depressed eyes can’t say a word although with wishing. 

       

      From self-imagined extendity to self-identity, in 2009, there has been big change in Xiong Yu’s creation. I would position the creation of Xiong Yu at a period of development of live consciousness. Firstly, Xiong Yu let characters in the painting no longer have the expression of yearning dream as in his former works. Xiong Yu started to add the so-called social role identification symbols to the characters. He let character dress and other small accessories implicate character’s identity in work (or life). Secondly, gender has become more and more clear, no longer appears neutral mostly like the past. Thirdly, Xiong Yu takes his characters away from the traditional luxuriant woods or river. The working space in reality and living place become the character’s main presence field. If the plastic like black dress and water forest space deduced by Xiong Yu in the past is the protection color he constructed, the scene presented in the latest works completely removes these protective colors. Xiong Yu still emotionally attached to the role of angels in his works. Just that, angel has been in this city, strike to confront a turbulent life, no longer dodge in the comfortable environment, and no longer afraid that white wings will be dirtied.

       

      Xiong Yu's attempts at creative expression are, of course, related to the experiences and feelings accumulated in work and life in these years. The earthquake in 2008 most apparently changed the attitude to live and oneself of people in Sichuan province. Dreams that have been realized, or about to realize, or in constructing status were completely pushed to the earth surface from peaceful life, and turned into flying dust, by a burst of shaking.Xiong Yu saw the original convention of environment was suddenly deformed and twisted, but life was so fragile that there was no resistance and parry at all. Unexpected changes in the large environment and warning sign of family health reminded Xiong Yu that life and living can not remain unchanged forever. Moreover, in recent years with exhibitions in different regions, Xiong Yu's vision was thereby broadened, and following that, heart was naturally open. In school work, from the beginning of anything-undone to joining of students later, Xiong Yu changed from pure artist to art manager and organizer. The breadth of interpersonal relationships had been widening. At the same time he had the opportunity to realize the levels and ever-changing of depth of interpersonal relationships. These very simple contents of life were indeed a process for Xiong Yu, an experience unlike his former quite life.

       

      There are two characteristics fully demonstrated in Xiong Yu’s new works. First, classical rhythm doesn’t fall into the rigid structure of classical paintings. Second, he makes the dramatic vision flow with breathing by continuing the stage context atmosphere he had ever attempted in the past.  

       

      In the works of “Craftsman” and “ Steel-making Man”, Xiong Yu lets the angels be the workers in the secular world and the pattern of clothes is regarded as a way to identify identities. However, Xiong Yu doesn’t have any nostalgia for the situations in which traditional Chinese realistic painting pays a tribute to theworkers. Workers in the paintings of these two works are given an absolutely accurate exquisite and elegance. That is to say, on the one hand, Xiong Yu lets the other-worldly angel be the living man in the real environment, but he also keeps the distance between angel and human tightly. Xiong Yu lays out a painting which looks like we appreciate the classical characters through the fine brushwork and soft color and lustre, and we can feel the reality is pushed away and memory is activated from the space of painting. People who are familiar with Xiong Yu’s art should know clearly that he is good at separating the characters in the painting and the real space, showing a surreal imagination. This idiosyncrasy is a common narration among the new generation artists. Computer and cartoon supply such shortcuts. However, Xiong Yu particularity outstrips the triviality of his past works in the aspect of brushwork disposal through handling his most favorite painting expression. When you appreciate his recent works, you will find the neo- classical flavor different from other character paintings through the compactness throws off in the painting, no expatiation and refinement of the environment.  

       

      Now we turn to see his two works “ Woman in the Mirror” and “ A Woman before Night”. Xiong Yu seldom paints this kind of surreal painting theme directly such like “ Woman in Mirror”. There is a female angel with gloomy eyes appeared in the oval mirror. Xiong Yu uses a kind of brushwork in which we can not see the clear moving directions of his painting to get the whole painting into a context space where people dare not to breathe before painting: Warm tone in brown series disperses softly, just like the actress in the movie of “Sometime in Love” who doesn’t exist in the reality. But for an ancient coin found in the pocket of hired clothes by the actor, the actor dropped into the space of actress and then occurred a emotion with the actress through time and space. Xiong Yu doesn’t paint this angel so classical deliberately, strictly speaking, he makes the angel in his painting have the authentic feelings and dreams that emotions have gone away in the reality, making the painting should turn naturally into a span in which present and past are superposed in the mirror. Compared with “Woman in the Mirror”, which exudes leisure scent of memory, “Woman before the Night” is of stage histrionics I have mentioned before. Pure white finery with silky textures wore by the woman in the painting shows her rich life. However, if you look carefully, you will find her arms are bond and floating in the sky just like a puppet with thread couldn’t get away from the destiny controlled behind her back. The problems are: in one hand, Xiong Yu refers to female’s impotence of casting off the bondage encountered in the reality. He sets the actress into a noble family with flower scenery, strengthening the penetrative helpless of painting, also pointing out the strength entanglement of the tug of war of the two poles in this circumstance. On the other hand, Xiong Yu exposes woman’s psychological desire to the outside world depending on the beam of white light set out in the right upper side of the painting; meanwhile, he also makes the painting have dramatic characters with stage tension. Xiong Yu brings “dramatic” in his works, and another work named “Fly wings” is quite classical. This kind of girl in this work has seldom appeared in Xing Yu’s past works. The girl with fledgeless black wings, who is standing in the shrinking white folding chair with her right hand beating her cheek lightly, are considering how to fly forward. I am associated with the stage Monologue from this painting, direct and simple body movement and facial expressions, purely describing the tales in detail and no contemplation. Xiong Yu has many themes to attempt like this expression. They have the common point that painting is quite clear, with little emotion, but full of feelings, so I like this series very much.      

       

      The new classical flavor created by Xiong Yu himself also makes a several conversions of dyeing of ink. Taking “Index Man of Light” as an example, pale and thin youth kneels in the woods searching with upper part of his body naked. Xiong Yu uses sick white with grey and blue as the main hue, the leaves on the ground are processed like feathers without a feeling of weight, and shape of the original appearance is lost under his rough-thin painting. In this work, Xiong Yu doesn’t use trivial expatiation which he often uses in his past creations, but uses more accurate and proficient techniques to paint scene and environment more harmoniously. In the double cross-set of washing and dyeing, the space presents the levels of far and near senses and air-breathing rhythm in the fusion of monochromatic light and temperature, touching people clearly.

       

      The creations, painted by Xing Yu in 2009, cast off the fantastic youth aestheticism which his previous works get close to. I think maybe youth is invincible, but only profundity could make eternal invincibility. And hence, the angel s in his paintings get close to the human world and become the living man in the reality. They experience the same hardships, frustrations, adversities and have the same depression, surprise and delight. They also have inabilities and anxieties. Furthermore, Xing Yu expresses his insistence in his works when there is a contradiction between ideality and reality. Xiong Yu regards “horse” which appears in his recent works as an embodiment of the ideality. In some of his big works, the rider is ordinarily not single, a tight situation of dragging halters is always presented and we can clearly see the opposite intensity of pulls in the two poles. Xiong Yu uses this way to express a wrestling and grinding process with the reality before ideality becomes true. Xiong Yu regards horses as symbols of ideality, maybe he doesn’t know horses also means emotional (eyes of horse), tame (still like virgins), free and running rapidly (like a rabbit). It seems that these are the reasons why Xiong Yu likes painting angels—wings symbolize flying at any time. However, Wing means a potential evasive consciousness. Symbol held behind role is also given a new interpretation when role is adjusted. Xiong Yu holds his own role in the real world cautiously and records the change and adjustment of his mind in his works. It seems like that the angels in the paintings changes gradually.  

       

      We probably really do not know how an angel likes exactly in terms of a real situation and environment. However, painting angels can be regarded as a technique for making a living, believing in angels is a sort of belief. I think the reason why Xiong Yu puts the role of angel into the living life just because he is so disappointed with the reality, but he has never been disappointed with people and given up himself. Therefore, angels will be contained, exhausted, tired and ……However,after all we see Xiong Yu’s angels are still staying in this city. Furthermore, they are facing the hurly-burly environment quietly from the beginning to the end.

       

      Xiong Yu is painting angels in this city. Xiong Yu is also expressing himself, isn’t he?

       

    [Press Releases] Ruins, Life Styles and Our Natural Surroundings

    By        汪民安 2008-05

    Original Author: Wang Min’an      trans

    The use of disguise and make up to transform her appearance and identity is a constant feature of Chen Qiulin’s work. She has dressed as a number of female characters, including an angel, a traditional Chinese beauty, a classical ‘lianpu’ opera figure, a modern dancer and a ghostlike devil figure. Why does she assume all these different identities? And why does she appear to be in this continuous state of transition? Those who constantly change appearance normally wish to express a different aspect of them selves. It is often an attempt to discover the different possibilities hidden and unlocked within oneself, even a questioning of the very concept of the ‘self’. However, the different disguises of Chen Qiulin aim at uncovering something else entirely. Neither solipsistic experiment nor personal quest, she hopes, through linking her disguised characters to the environment surrounding them, to open up a dialogue with the natural world, and it is the relationship between these two that her ultimately work focuses on.

     

    What kind of ‘environment’ are we talking about? Throughout her work, Chen Qiulin has chosen many different kinds, but she often places her characters against a background of urban decay.  This could be a construction site at the edge of the city, an area that is just being pulled down and demolished or the ruins of a city from which the inhabitants are in the process of leaving. In all these environments we can feel the destructive force of man. Mud, debris and rubble shape a wrecked and dilapidated environment. And it is into these surroundings there emerges a beautiful young girl, immaculately dressed. Radiating youth and beauty, she appears in sharp contrast with her surroundings, her presence amplified by the stark environment behind her. This crumbling environment serves as the setting for beauty, yet, we could also say that it is the girl’s beauty that serves as the setting for ruin and decay. It is this juxtaposition that serves to heighten both the sense of beauty and decay, and also creates a kind of qualitative contradiction. The girl sits in the foreground, attends to her own image, applying make-up, enhancing, strengthening her own beauty. The neglected rubble that surrounds her, however, is left only to further decay, evoking a pervasive sense of the perishableness of things. In this series of pictures by Chen Qiulin, we can see these two forces working against each other. Interconnected, they create an enormous amount of tension, a collision of the future and the past, of hope and despair, of vigor and decay, positivity and hopelessness.

     

    In this way we can explain why Chen Qiulin sits dressed as a beautiful young maiden (an angel) and places herself amidst this rubble. By the very presence of a beautiful young woman in the picture, we become more acutely aware of the crumbling reality around her. Chen Qiulin sees nature and the environment as the starting point for her works. In these photographs, the female figure and her decrepit environment go hand in hand in challenging our perception of the relationship between humanity and nature. In these photographs, the girl pays no attention to her surroundings. Although surrounded by debris, she remains completely self absorbed, oblivious to the world around her. And in the cold indifference of this girl lies the irony of these images. We dress ourselves up in a world that has been destroyed. We demolish our environment, while simultaneously beautifying ourselves. We are passionate when it comes to our own personality but indifferent where our environment is concerned. We create such juxtaposition between ourselves and our environment and yet, don’t seem to care. In a way, this series of images can be seen as an allegory for our times. In order to construct our own personalities, we have let the world around us go to ruin.

     

    Where this series is full of irony, another is filled with sensitivity. Enormous changes in the environment and natural world have created a certain malaise among human beings. The city in which Chen Qiulin once lived is now being demolished (the reason not important) and she has managed to record this process. The chance to record the complete demolition of a city is a rare event, and the series is therefore imbued with extraordinary significance. Normally, we can witness how cities are gradually constructed, we can see skyscrapers being built and we can even observe how completely new cities are constructed in a number of years. But people very rarely have the opportunity to witness the total destruction of a city, to see skyscraper after skyscraper being pulled down. Yet, in one sense, to witness deconstruction is also to witness construction. By seeing how a city is demolished, we can see how it was constructed. Of greater importance however, is that the demolition and disappearance of a city is not simply the leveling of buildings, the disappearance of a physical habitat and its natural surroundings, it is also the demolition and disappearance of a way of life. 

     

    This series of Chen Qiulin’s work is an elegy to a demolished city, lamenting a way of life that has already passed away. This elegy has been given an operatic rendition by the artist as she places classical opera figures amidst the city’s ruins, the slow rhythm of the opera emphasizing the sudden swiftness of the city’s destruction. This slowness also refers to the slowness of a certain way of living, to a kind of inner slowness (look at how few people today are still interested in opera!). Chen Qiulin introduces classical opera, clothing, make up and a way of living into her works by juxtaposing them with modern urban life. Classically dressed performers dance amidst the wreckage of modern cities, the rubble having become their new stage, and ironically their final resting place, as their classical traditions no longer have a place in modern society. 

     

    The appearance of these classically attired performers in a modern city experiencing rapid transformation creates a quite farcical atmosphere. In this image we can also see the huge importance of time in Chen Qiulin’s work: the only possible way for these classical figures to appear in modern urban life is as a kind of bizarre spectacle. There is a great conflict between these figures and the environment in which they find themselves. Again, the environment and natural surroundings do not merely serve as external decoration, and they are a crucial factor in understanding Chen Qiulin’s works. Our environment determines how we live our lives, and in her other works we again see characters appearing in incongruous surroundings. Some oddly dressed young people wander in a colourfully decorated space. In this composition, man, space and the environment all appear on the one distorted stage, drawn together by their shared affectation. This relationship between man and his environment is intimate in the way that the relationship between the classical female performers and urban degeneration is contradictory. 

     

    The transformation of cities, the environment and nature are all connected to the transformation of how we live our lives. What is being demolished and destroyed is not only the city, but also a certain way of living. Because of this, we need to reach a new understanding of our environment. Today, due to acknowledging man’s inextricable relationship with his natural surroundings, we have a shared appreciation for the need to protect the environment. People even consider the environment their home. Chen Qiulin shares these ideas and common understanding, and many of her works are proof of this. She brings children into direct contact with different environments and directly immerses the physical body in the environment. The body becomes thus an intrinsic element of the environment. By using tofu to write on grass, she demonstrates the weakness and fragility of nature. But according to her, this understanding is not yet sufficient in order to protect our environment.

     

    In Chen Qiulin’s works, it is important to make clear that our natural environment is nothing other than our cultural and social environment. Nature and culture are intrinsically linked to each other, and people should stop trying to separate them. Nature is just another aspect of our vast cultural environment. We see the damage the natural world has sustained. This damage is not only natural damage but also cultural. It is equally true that damage to our cultural environment not only affects the cultural but also the natural world as well. A large part of our nature has suffered considerable damage- is this not exactly because our cultural environment has been thrown upside down?

     

    May 2008