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"A Private Playground: Oil Paintings by Xie Qi"
2001-06-14 until 2001-06-21
Art Scene China
Hong Kong, ,
Xie Qi, born in Sichuan Province in the early 1970s, is a graduate from and teacher at the China Central Academy of Art and Design in Beijing. The exhibition entitled Private Playground- Oil Paintings by Xie Qi was originally intended to commence on June 1, 2001, in celebration of Childrens day - a perfect time to show paintings relating to childhood. However, the difficulties of obtaining a visa to Hong Kong forced the delay of the show to June 14.
Xie Qis innocent-looking oil paintings of children in playgrounds, sometimes on swings, slides or see-saws are inspired by the artistís nostalgic of her youth. The dream-like paintings of this young female artist are materializations of her own childhood memories. The works are painted in a naÔve style, reminiscent of paintings produced by a child. The figures, slides, balloons, water fountains, clouds, etc, in Xies paintings are surrounded by plain canvas backgrounds; the wide open spaces make the solo figures and items within the work appear to be detached and cut-off from the rest of the world. Xie Qi says of this technique, The emptiness makes the figures stand out from the background, helpless and alone.
The Sichuan artist also paints panda bears, a famous symbol of China, which come from Sichuan. One of the pandas in her painting, The Gift, is painted in an unusual combination of black and yellow, with a gift in its hand. The expression on the bears face, with an over-exaggerated smile, seems ominous. Xie says of panda bears- We are shown and taught that they are gentle, loveable creatures. But actually, they can be quite rough and mean. I want to show the other side of them because not everything we are taught in childhood is the truth.
Xie Qi also paints small young couples, holdings hands, in the same naÔve style. The couples, also surrounded by blank canvases as if completely isolated, are faced with ominous incarnations and abstract clouds as obstacles towards love. Love has solid proof in my paintings. It lasts longer than life, says Xie.
When asked about the meaning of her work, Xie Qi responds, This series of work is like a descriptive fable. I am an artist who focuses on describing things. I pay particular attention to the style within my work in order to set up a plot for the story.
Xie Qi herself is somewhat critical of modern lifestyles. Playgrounds symbolize a fortunate lifestyle. They appear to be close to nature, but playgrounds and parks themselves are artificial creations made by human beings. I create parks in my paintings, but I use lots of black to darken them.
Childhood memories are happy memories for most. However, in the background of Xie Qis works are menacing looking clouds or splotches of dark color that are unclear as to their origin. Why is thisNULL As children, many of us worry that there are monsters that are lurking under our bed or that some place is haunted. Perhaps Xieís paintings encompass this fear in the background, as the children are playing, representing the childrenís thoughts... fun and games on the slide, but lurking in the background is something that can be terrifying. Or perhaps the menacing things in the background represent the uncertainty of what lies ahead, the cruelty of the human race that is not yet evident to young children, or even just simply encroaching adulthood.