June 04 - July 31, 2015

Wang Haiyang | Yan Heng | Ma Sibo | Fu Site | Zhu Xinyu | Sun Yu

Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to present the exhibition STATE OF MIND, painting China now, gathering the works of Wang Haiyang, Yan Heng, Ma Sibo, Fu Site, Zhu Xinyu et Sun Yu. These six painters are representatives of a new wave of Chinese figurative painting, focused on the expression of an inner world, states of mind, feelings or existential questions of individuals.

Born in the 80’s, the exhibited 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 frees itself from all historical or political critique of the 20th century China.

This new generation finds her inspiration sources and subjects in the intimate sphere of people living in the heart of the today’s ultramodern and ultrafast Chinese society. Paintings of these artists reveal, in different ways, the same search of an escape or of a freedom space for individual consciousness in the frenetic life of an ever-changing country. In a distinctive personal style, each painter gives free reign to the unconscious and lets emerge his anxieties, fears or dreams. Illusions and fantasy references are recurrent in the works: behind apparent normalcy often hides a feeling of unease.

The exhibition of the six artists selected by Galerie Paris-Beijing is an opportunity to discover an interesting face of the new Chinese figurative painting that invites us to meet with the strange and whimsical. The works exhibited also offer an original testimony to the new generation feelings in front of extraordinary transformations and inexorably Western culture impacts China is going through.

Artists and works

Fu Site’s canvases seem to superimpose the layers and time of the narrative, introducing a psychological dimension to the space. Hallucinatory visions rear up in the immobile décor like traces or snippets of memories or fantastical presences. A perfectly mastered use of mixed media – China ink, pencil and oils – allows Site Fu (b. 1984, Liaoning) to play with the spatial layers to introduce a blurred temporality. Behind the curtains of a waiting room, between the veils of a canopy or in the reflection of a pool, troubling scenes emerge, as if insidious truths were hiding under an apparent calm…

The work of the painter and video artist Wang Haiyang (b. 1984, Shandong) addresses more explicitly the states of the subconscious and explores the most tortuous relations it entertains with desires. His Kafkaesque characters transform and metamorphose, while enigmatic images put us face to face with disturbing emotions. The sky’s the limit for the creations of the unconscious in the fantasy works of Wang Haiyang, as illustrated, for example, by the figure of Freud whose skull opens up to release butterflies (Freud, Fish and Butterfly, 2012).

Zhu Xinyu (b. 1980, Liaoning) fantasizing dive into the twists and turns of landscapes and enchanted forests. His large oil paintings bring the audience between the shadows and glimmers of strange and ethereal twilight passing through the trees. With his hypersensitive work and his interest in mystical ecology, Zhu Xinyu never deals with landscapes romantically, but rather symbolically. If the forest is capable of evoking the relationship between shadows, light and the body, here it is also a place of reminiscence and of meditation, away from the noise of the world.

Light is the primordial element in the Ma Sibo (b. 1979, Tianjin) canvases, also. Plays of light and haziness, obtained by an astonishing manipulation of his materials in gradation, create a troublingly strange effect that blankets the banal scenes and spaces, such as merry-go-rounds in a theme park or clothing abandoned in the half-light of a bedroom. In these places, purged of all human presence, sensations are elicited by things and colors. Indeed, Ma Sibo’s brushes envelope inert objects with an emotional aura, awakening distant memories and a vague nostalgia.

Yan Heng (b. 1982, Jinzhou City) expresses in his works his emotions and personal experiences of living the digital and consumerist Chinese society. He experiments strange overlaps, implanting mechanical items in his works, especially computer parts, but also fans, refrigerators, etc… The artist aims to combine realities with false appearances to create visual shapes that are both organic and permeable. Opposing yesterday and today Chinas, Heng’s compositions mix the past and the present. All these disorganized references create an impression of parallel realities and of the chaos brought about the society of spectacle and consumerism.

The exploration of the human being and his vicissitudes is the main subject of Sun Yu’s (b. 1982, Ji Ling) works. 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 their face expressions and their fragile silhouettes, we are confronted to feelings of alienation and worry.