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Contemporary Chinese Art- another kind of view

DSL Collection

"....Qiu Anxiong was born in 1972 in the southwestern city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. Qiu was influenced by the thoughts of avant-garde art in Chengdu. After graduation, Qiu says he dreamt of becoming an artist. He spent a year at a design company in Shenzhen, in Guangdong Province, before immersing himself fully in avant-garde art.
?I painted many paintings like these? he said, showing a pile of paintings nearby. The expressionist color blocks of the works seem to reflect an overwhelming experience. ?I painted at night in my rented house after work. The table I worked on was not much bigger than this piece of paper.?

In spite of his parents disapproval, Qiu left Shenzhen and returned to Chengdu. He was able to paint freely in Chengdu, working all day long. He also met with other artists, such as Zhang Xiaogang, Zhou Chunya, He Duoling and Shen Xiaotong. He even opened a bar in the city named ?Bistro? with some friends. It became the base of artistic circles in Chengdu and also became a popular rock venue.

Qiu recalls this saying,?In 1997, I even joined a band as a drummer. After I left, it gradually became the important venue of Chengdu rock and underground music.?

In 1998, Qiu enrolled the College of Art at the University Kassel in Germany. He spent six years in Germany, and experienced a great deal of culture shock resulting in his new awareness and attitude towards Western society. Qius says:?Modern society is under the rule of Western society, even though you identify with its cultural values, the identity barrier will stop your representation. The best thing I could do to keep my own identity was to begin reading Nan Huaijin?s books and learn traditional things.?

Today, Qiu is comforted spiritually by Chinese classical texts. The effect of traditional culture often appears in his works. He completed a series of abstract oil paintings in the ink-and-wash style that carry the same feeling as traditional Chinese classical landscapes. For Qiu, ?to paint the landscape on canvas is to be symbolized by business.?

New media art ? primarily German contemporary art ? helped him find a way to break through traditional and past artistic barriers.?Painting is actually on the edge,? he says. ?I want to do more things, painting is not enough.?

In addition to working on and discovering new art mediums, Qiu devotes his mind to study and the research of Eastern classic texts, such as the Four Books, Five Classics, Taoism and the Sutras. In understanding the East and West and past and present, he hopes to find a new art expression where these cultures intersect.

Qiu, who was a student of Zhang Xiaogang and Ye Yongqing in Sichuan, said he learned a great deal from the two artists, and also was influenced by the works of the South African artist William Kentridge and the animation studios at the University of Kassel.

Qiu says he returned to China in 2004 and began teaching at Shanghai Normal University. He also took up new media. This is what he said in an interview at Biz Art in Shanghai, late last year. "The new meda is gradually becoming one of the main artistic forms. I didn't get involved in those media creations when i was abroad, as I thoughty they belonged to Western culture thus had nothing to do with us. Those ideas were inherited from my Sichuaan period influenced me a lot. Of course, now I don't think so. This is a trend and it's happening here."
Here in Shanghai, where other new media artists like Yang Fudong and Xu Zhen work, Qiu Anxiong has set up shop. His two-room apartment serves as both his living space and art studio. You?ll find his computer, canvases, clothes, and DVDs, but no video camera.?I do not have a video camera yet,? Qiu says with a smile. ?When I shot?Jiangnancuo,' the camera was borrowed from Yang Fudong.?
Remarkably, all the work is done by Qiu himself, working from a small apartment studio in Shanghai. He paints with acrylics in a small room, which also serves as his photographic studio. The acrylic gives the appearance of ink-and-wash painting, but allows him the flexibility to put on additional layers with a canvas rather than paper than wrinkles with ink. Once the image is painted, he takes a snapshots of each portrait with a digital camera. The work is then transferred to the computer, where it can be edited and animated."
By Maggie Ma ArtZineChina

Qiu Anxiong
acrylic on canvas, 150x200 cm