Art Plural Gallery is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Chinese artist Qiu
Jie. Featuring 30 of his latest works, the exhibition will run from September 13 to October 26, 2013.
In his intricate pencil drawings, Qiu Jie confronts the history of Chinese society with contemporary
Western popular culture in a black and white aesthetics. His drawings create links, sew a common thread
between different situations and establish another logic in the story of time. Before moving to Switzerland
in 1989 to study multimedia at the School of Fine Arts, “the man who comes from other mountains” (his
pseudonym and signature of each work), spent his childhood in China during the Cultural Revolution,
drawing and copying propaganda images from local newspapers, inspired by the dazibao aesthetics. His
passion brought him to the Art Department of the Shanghai Light Industry College in 1978 where he was
taught in the light of realism, the official artistic movement at that time. Today, this heritage is still quite
vivid in Qiu Jie’s work.
Indeed, each drawing is inspired by existing images extracted from an infinite panel of sources from
newspapers to advertisings, paintings and photos - past or current, personal or public, narrative or
descriptive, social or political. However, Qiu Jie drifts away from this first given material triggering
imagination and creation. The artist, acting like a novelist, uses these existing characters or elements of
context to compose a story of his own. Combining various components, he sets relationships between
them making up a plot and rigorously tying a narration together. Two reading levels stem from this
specific composition method: the new artist’s story that one can observe on the final drawing is
intertwined with each individual suggestive story that was the initial source of inspiration. Each element is
thus independent and yet part of a larger unity.
“Some come from the political scene, others not. I am not confronting communism. For me, it is funny to juxtapose a revolutionary figure to a naked woman. It is a way to provoke the other side, the side of people who look at art. It is something interesting, but it is not a political statement. It is more like an aesthetic commitment. It is a game and I create a play.” - Qiu Jie.
To create such a play, the artist works meticulously and extremely patiently. Solving an equation of different elements demands months of research and thinking. Nothing is left unknown. Details are key and sidle in every blank space creating bridges and connections. For instance, to integrate a pack of cigarettes in his composition, Qiu Jie will make a research on which cigarettes are smoked by Chinese artists today, on the layout of the pack, on which shops they are sold. Eyes are securely guided from a chapter to another bouncing on extremely precise elements: the story comes to life. Streets he used to walk on, old factories, restaurants, grocery stores, friends’ homes are embracing contemporary Western imagery in an intricately detailed melting pot of stories.
Once more, the artist’s patience is challenged during the execution of the drawing. Qiu Jie has remained quite adamant on the simplicity of the material he uses, making it part of his artist’s statement. Against any kind of illusionary artifice or complicated process, he works with lead pencil and has developed a unique black and white - with rare touches of red aesthetics. Pencil allows him to engrave details on paper and depict the narration in a microscopic point of view.
“We are extremely pleased to present Qiu Jie’s latest body of work at Art Plural Gallery. Bridging cultures, identities and references, we believe his work is extremely relevant to the current global situation. Qiu Jie appeals to imagination but depicts transversal truths.” Frederic de Senarclens – director of Art Plural Gallery.
Qiu Jie was born in Shanghai in 1961. He graduated from the School of Decorative Arts in Shanghai in 1981 and pursued a career as a designer and decorator for a state company. During those 6 years, he travelled productively across China feeding his imagination, which grew to be his well of inspiration. In 1985, he presented his first solo art exhibit at the Palace of Culture Xu Hui of Shanghai. Qiu moved to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the School of Fine Arts and graduated in 1994 with a degree in multimedia.
His prizes and distinctions include, 1st prize in the Visual Arts of Geneva competition (1994), Federal Prize of Fine Arts, Geneva (1995), studio granted by the town of Geneva (1996), Simon I. Patino scholarship granted by La Cité des Arts, Paris (1995). His exhibitions include: Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Geneva; Rath Museum Geneva, Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland; Saatchi Gallery, London and Lille; The Venice Biennale; the Museum of Fine Arts, Shanghai; Shanghai Biennale; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; Today Art Museum, Beijing. The artist lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland.
About Art Plural Gallery
Art Plural Gallery is a unique space dedicated to Modern, Contemporary Art and Design in the heart of Singapore's cultural district. Founded by Swiss art dealer Frederic de Senarclens, this innovative platform nestled in a four-storey Art Deco heritage building presents solo and group exhibitions, installations, public art projects, conferences, and art publications. Since it has been launched in May 2011, the gallery has featured the solo exhibitions of Ian Davenport, Pablo Reinoso, Shirin Neshat, Bernar Venet, Fabienne Verdier, Thukral & Tagra and Chun Kwang Young.
For additional information visit the Art Plural Gallery website.