“On a weekend afternoon, I leave my studio to go out for a spin. I jump on my Loaded Tan Tien long-style skateboard and hit the streets, seeing busy people wherever I go. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. As I pass the intersection of Huajiadi and Futong Dongjie, the coloured lights of outdoor advertisements lift my spirits.
“I take a look at my watch: it’s 4:47 pm, I decide to go to the Wangjing Gym for a run on the treadmill. On the motorized vehicle lane, a string of cars has caused a traffic jam; luckily, I’m on my skateboard. Ten minutes later, I arrive at the gym on the 11th floor of Wangjing Center. I start the treadmill at a speed of 8 km/h, looking out at the city below through the glass window in front of me.
“Bright neon lights, car taillights, advertisements, and giant LED light displays on top of shopping malls are laid out before me. I look back at the people inside the gym, only to find that they are all looking at their mobile phones, ‘liking’ other people’s pictures, searching for websites or checking articles about the stock market. I look at the clock on the treadmill: it’s 5:09 pm. One hour later I will go back to my studio to continue working.
“This is me – the daily life of a Shanghai-born artist working in Beijing. As an artist born after 1985, I was born in the city, live in the city, and love in the city. In the city, we both face struggles and ultimately survive. Everything I see in the environment around me slowly becomes a projection of my instinctive attitude towards life, society and values.
“Perhaps this is why I have worked on the series My Space for so many years, being drawn deeper and deeper into its themes rather than tiring of them. In the city, these bright lights and colours draw the attention of our eyes. Yet in another sense for you, for us, and for them, behind this apparent beauty lies a truth opposite of its appearance.
“In recent years, every day I paint blocks of colours and draw lines, with the act of painting
“It was 2008. I had a visit to an ancient city in China called Pingyao in Shanxi Province. I sketched a lot of the electronic wires and broken traces on the old walls. After I came back to Beijing, I kept on drawing these traces for a long time.”
Dead Leaf & Dry Flowers
“After the Wall Series, I started to focus on d
“After I came up with the style of My Space, I started to collect some other materials to express my understanding of
“Neon lights, billboard lights, car taillights, broken traces on the walls, electronic wires hanging along the road-side, paints splashing on the ground, etc. Those actions seem meaningless, while can form an independent colour space. Also, I do not try to complicate an integral artwork, because everything that varies each day can influence my work.”
Material, Sketch, Crystal, Untitled Series
“Recently, I started to research using these four series, tending to a more free creation, refusing to think about the idea of an artwork, and, trying to reveal instinctive colour.”