“Ice cold glass is a symbol of the city, just like ‘the people’, who are both right here and very far away.”
He Xi is a man of few words, yet through the paintbrush, he has found a way to express his concerns for real world issues using his classical Chinese bird-and-flower painting training. The result? His works cannot be categorised, breaking the rigid rules of traditional Chinese painting. In his ink and brush world, there is no limitation to what can be considered as his landscape, his human figure, or his bird and flower.
The art historian Lu Fusheng describes He Xi thus: “With symbolic language, he deconstructs the semiotic system of traditional painting. His use of mesh and glass hints at restrictions and being on display, opening up commentary on the conflicting allegories of traditional culture.”
He Xi uses the rules of traditional painting to defy tradition itself, creating works that simultaneously narrate, express and discourse. With the most classical methods of ink and brush, he paints out modern feelings: mystic nights and fleeting days, compassion and hope, restraint and release, order and impermanence.