Within the Asian contemporary art scene, few artists are exploring the painterly practice and language through a variety of themes and subject matter. Qiu Shan is one of the few painters who chose this direction. He refuses any label to describe his artistic practice. Characterized by a very distinctive and unique expressive style, his painterly repertoire is populated by nuns, apes, elves, Arabs, the bridegrooms, Pharaohs, boxers but also walls, carpets, cash machines and two fruits that look like the Earth. Qiu Shan's paintings present an unfathomable symbolic world that transcends real life. His works often depict improbable scenes where the connection between the different visual elements of the image loses any rational connotation. The relationship between the images is blurred and the pictorial composition is characterized by a silent, obscure, fascinating, and fearful atmosphere. Besides, his painting style is sophisticated and multifaceted: he combines iconographic characteristics of pre- Renaissance and postmodern art with visual elements and references of the artistic and literary movements of the end of the 20th century. His sources of inspiration are Piero de la Francesca, Mama Anderson, Neo Rauch, Kafka, Tao Yuanming. As a young artist, he focuses on a constant exploration of the expressive possibilities of painterly practice, experimenting with different techniques in a very impressive and genuine way.
丘山《情人》17 x 15,5cm，板上油画，2018
Qiu Shan The Lover, 17 x 15,5cm, Oil on board, 2018
此次展览呈现丘山6件不同时期作品。小尺寸的《情人》为2018年艺术家于独立艺术空间M Studio做的个人项目《SECOND-HAND KNELL》的系列作品之一。画中两个的人脸诞生于混乱的笔触，存活在交错的空间之中，黑洞似的不规则圆盘吸收着其余的痕迹。丘山巧妙地运用画面空间，且刻意回避了人脸的性别特征，使画面传递出一种永恒感。
The exhibition presents Qian Shan's six works from different periods. The small-size work The Lover belongs to the series of Second-Hand Knell. Qiu Shan worked on this painting in the independent art space M Studio in 2018. Two faces appear among the chaotic brushstrokes: irregular discs, like black holes, dominate the rest of the painterly composition. Qiu Shan adds no gender connotation to the faces which convey a sense of timelessness.
丘山《声音》50 x 60cm, 布面油画，2015
Qiu Shan The Sound, 50 x 60cm, Oil on canvas, 2015
In The Sound, the image references the iconography of Pharaoh from the ancient Egyptian sculptural tradition (525 BC). The artist incorporates the image of a Pharaoh in the boxing ring: the Pharaoh’s head is about to be punched; colors are not intense and they contribute to creating an atmosphere of tension and suspense. What does the title The Sound refer to? The swing of the fist, the cheer from the audience, or the sound of the shattered Pharaoh statue? It could have many different interpretations. However, from the Pharaoh’s eyes, it seems that the sound does not correlate with the surrounding environment. It seems to come from another dimension: there is something that terrifies the Pharaoh even more than the pain caused by the punch. We can see his fear, but we cannot explain what he is afraid of.
丘山《两个长得像地球的果子》50 x 60cm, 布面油画，2015
Qiu Shan Two Fruits Look Like the Earth, 50 x 60cm, Oil on canvas, 2015
The one who gets to see the green one will achieve happiness.
--- Verne The Green Ray
Two Fruits Look Like the Earth is related to The Green Ray which is a film by éric Rohmer and is adapted from the novel of the same name by Jules Verne. The Green Ray is the last light before the sun goes down. It is not only romantic but also subtle and mysterious. In the artist's view, this neutral light contains happiness but also unhappiness at the same time.
丘山《贞洁》60 x 50cm, 布面油画，2015
Qiu Shan Virginity, 60 x 50cm, Oil on canvas, 2015
Virginity is an artwork characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty. Dominated by the green background, it depicts the scene of a nun standing in front of an ATM. This improbable image generates bewildering in the viewers: what is in the nun mind? Money? Lust? Crime? Doctrine? Mercy? We can never know for sure.
丘山《漫谈下去》50 x 60cm, 布面油画，2015
Qiu Shan Ramble on, 50 x 60cm, Oil on canvas, 2015
Ramble On is based on a photograph from the 1970s. The artist took inspiration from the photo because of the image quality: there is no specific information about the pictures nor particular concept behind it. Many analogies or hidden psychological connotations come to mind when we look at the painting. The main motive is a conference; however, the time this scene takes place seems to be irrelevant. This kind of direct mental connections and analogies reflect the impact of globalization on the current existential experience. In this work, the artist paints a poster or a reflecting mirror on the background wall, which seems to reflect a red tree that does not exist in the conference hall. Even though we cannot be sure that it is a mirror and we don’t know if these surreal objects exist, the conference still rambles on. We let our flow of thoughts get into this dimension filled with fantasy and uncertainty.
丘山《地粮》50 x 60cm, 布面油画，2015
Qiu Shan The Grain, 50 x 60cm, Oil on canvas, 2015
Inspired by the spatial layout of the video game in the late 1990s, in his work The Grain, the wall displaying the "END" in the background reminds the end of the videogame. We can see two naked children sitting under the wall pointing at the other invisible wall: what happens there? Will the game end? The artist invites the audience to image this fantastic result.
Artist: Qiu Shan
Born in Guangdong, works and lives in Beijing
Graduated from CAFA in 2012
The exhibition Explorer Preface is currently on. It will bring you into a mysterious space-time tunnel to explore more untold stories. We are pleased to invite you to share your insights on this exhibition.
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