Exploring in darkness, while shedding new light

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-01-26 09:52:27

Exploring in darkness, while shedding new light

Ji Dachun's painting of a long horse presents playful enjoyment. Zou Hong/China Daily

Painting is painful and miserable for artist Ji Dachun.

However, he has been painting for 38 years.

Exploring in darkness, while shedding new light

Liaoning museum showcases horse paintings 

Exploring in darkness, while shedding new light

Exhibition held for Year of the Horse in Nanjing 

In the ongoing exhibition Without a Home at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, the 45-year-old artist is displaying more than 40 works from the past decade, spanning several key moments of his career. The exhibition also marks the artist's first institutional exhibition in Beijing, reviewing his most comprehensive works to date.

Best-known for his Surrealist, satirical critiques of contemporary Chinese society, Ji is often juggling between traditional Chinese forms and the post-modern art construction of the West.

"When I face a long-established art style, such as traditional Chinese ink painting, I feel confused because it's hard to maintain the core while adding my own interpretation. So I just do some experiments by painting what I like without many rules," says Ji.

The testing period gave birth to some humorous images, such as a long horse and an ostrich putting a sock on its head, which gave the public an impression of Ji as a "playful artist".

Seeing his works at the exhibition, one could easily be confused since some of them are Abstract and in black-and-white, such as Plastic Brain Fluid, which evokes both Chinese landscape painting and Western abstraction, while some are colorful and tell a story, such as his painting Romeo and Zhu Yingtai, which has two tragic figures of classical literature from two different countries.

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