“For me, painting only seems to be about its subject. The artists are actually painting their inner selves. It’s the same with me.”
Born Yunyang, Chongqing, 1976. Lives and works in Chengdu and Beijing
Xiang Qinghua’s first encounter with the adult world was not a happy one. He found its rules trying and its routines dull. “Because I was so unhappy with reality, I started painting childhood memories,” he says. From there he moved on to a different kind of escape, into the tranquility of nature. His monochromatic paintings of a lake and a park in the rain at night focus on the encounter between light and water. In Rain 2, Rain 3 and Still Water 3 (all 2009), the scenes are empty of people—the only reminders of humanity are the concrete paths and the tidy rows of trees. The lack of colour or movement and the shimmering water convey a profound quietness. “I try to use painting to create a sense of stillness and peace,” the artist says.