Our friends at Beijing Today will sporadically swing by to introduce art and culture in the city. This week, a man who paints of and with love.
Sheng Tianhong’s heart is wholly devoted to painting. Born in Zhejiang Province in 1973 and a graduate from the Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts, he moved to Dusseldorf, Germany at the age of 24 to travel and develop his career.
“This is an era of mass information,” Sheng says. “There are just too many pictures you can find online. Pictures taken by others have become the new reality, but they only capture as much of the experience as a quick sketch.”
Love in the Digital Age collects Sheng’s best works from the last 10 years in Germany, Northern Europe and China. The inspiration comes from his impossibly random encounters.
His Naughty Pipi painting is of a Swedish girl he met while traveling in that country. The surrounding childish toys and the gun in Pipi’s hands is Sheng’s of backhanded commentary on the mental health of modern women.
In Boy, he depicts a silent young man with sharp eyes, showing how modern society is changing men into monsters.
Lu Xun, the Chinese Communist Party’s beloved writer for the working class, is equally criticized. Sheng’s paintings depict Lu Xun as a smart octopus and a tool for avoiding evil spirits.
Canvas is the only consistent material in Sheng’s works: what he puts on it ranges from charcoal to oils, acrylics and more.
But there’s something more significant about Sheng’s solo exhibition.
Sheng represents a new wave of Chinese artists who have been “set free” by spending a decade abroad. The turmoil reflected in his paintings may be a sign that the honest artists are fed up with modern society and the wholly derailed art market.
These new artists are looking for liberation and a breath of air to blast out the waves of pretenders who still dominate China’s galleries and claim the lion’s share of sales.
This post originally appeared in Beijing Today.
Love in the Digital Age
Where: Room 601, Unit 3, Yonghe Garden, 3 Dong Binhe Road, Andingmenm, Dongcheng District
Tel: 8422 1726, 8422 1030
Open: 10 am – 6 pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Duration: Through February 15