Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to present Don’t Look back… a group show gathering six figures of the new generation of Chinese figurative painters.
Born in the 80’s, the artists have not directly experienced the pivotal events of the Cultural Revolution and grew up in the midst of an economic boom.
Their approach is remote from those of the 1990’s Avant-Garde and of the movement known as Cynical Realism which aimed at re-exploring the pillars of China’s 20th century socio-political history with sharp humor.
Their art de facto frees itself from all social critique and directs itself toward individuals.
The paintings exhibited reveal a new approach to figuration, used here to express an introspective reflection and shed a light on psychological questioning. Portraits and interiors devoid of human presence express a melancholy nature, a feeling of dissatisfaction and even sometimes al- most ‘palpable’ tensions.
Each artist, in a distinctive personal style, gives free reign to the unconscious to let emerge the anxieties and fears induced by territory metamor- phoses and brutal changes in life styles, as inexorably impacted by Western culture.
Illusions and oneiric references are recurrent in the works: behind apparent normalcy often hides a feeling of unease.
Hence, the work of Wang Haiyang, painter and video artist, addresses the states of the subconscious and explores the most tortuous relations it entertains with desires. His Kafkaesque characters face a disturbing mutation that symbolizes the quest for identity and the feelings of doubt and solitude that intertwine with such quest.
With Yan Heng’s works we encounter the demands of the new Chinese ‘academism’. Focusing on body and experimentation, the artist aims to combine realities with false appearances to create visual shapes that are both organic and permeable. Opposing yester years’ and today’s Chinas, Heng’s compositions mix references to a past he has not necessarily known and references to the present. By superposing them on canvas, the artist creates an impression of parallel realities. All these disorganized references make up as many oppositions and tensions between a relative order from the past and the anticipated chaos of present consumer society.
Characterized by an evanescent light, Ma Sibo’s paintings allow us to see into fragments of intimate landscapes that are completely inhabited. The interplay between light and blurring, the result of a surprising work on gradient matter, creates a confusingly strange effect on daily spaces and scenes.
The forest and its overbearing symbolic force is one of the most explored topics of Zhu Xinyu’s large paintings. Using various pale hues that seem bathed in ethereal light, the artist creates captivating trees that seemingly hide a supernatural component. The forest is par excellence a place where oppositions are blurred, as it evokes kinship between light and darkness, body and soul…
Site Fu’s works introduce us to oneiric scenes – close to illusions or dreams – composed with subtly-altered elements of daily life. A painting will look like a frozen picture while seeming to offer unlimited possibilities. Frozen time, suspense, mystery, or even unease play an essential role in the reconstruction of these surreal ambiances.
Using a minimal palette of colors and a polished brush stroke, Sun Yu depicts tormented characters that seem to be searching for the meaning of their own existence. On seeing the face expressions, we are confronted to feelings of alienation and worry.
The exhibition is an opportunity to discover the various facets of this new figuration that invites us to meet with the strange and whimsical. The works exhibited also offer an original testimony to the extraordinary transformations China is going through and to the personal questioning these may trigger.