Among Paris's exciting new generation of artists, Xinyi Cheng is making waves with her enigmatic, otherworldly paintings.
Born in Wuhan, China, in 1989, Cheng has called the French capital home since 2017, moving to Paris after her studies in China, the U.S., and the Netherlands.
Five years on from her arrival, she has secured her first institutional solo exhibition in France, Seen Through Others at Lafayette Anticipations (23 March–28 May 2022).
Founded in 2013, the venue has been blazing a trail with its cutting-edge programme. Cheng's solo follows exhibitions in recent years by Rachel Rose, Wu Tsang, Simon Fujiwara, and Jean-Marie Appriou & Marguerite Humeau.
Seen Through Others features over 30 works completed by Cheng between 2016 to 2021, all unified by their vivid hues. Cheng often draws on experiences she has shared with friends and acquaintances who act as her muses, sometimes working from life and sometimes from photographs.
The paintings, however, are never portraits in a traditional sense. Instead, Cheng isolates universal human experiences, creating studies of intimacy, desire, attraction, or loneliness.
Having initially studied sculpture at Beijing's Tsinghua University, graduating in 2012 before refining her style at the Maryland Institute of Art for her MFA (2014), followed by a residency at the prestigious Rijksakademie in Amsterdam between 2016 and 2018, this exhibition is the latest in a string of accomplishments.
Last year, Cheng was included in the fêted opening of The Pinault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce and, in 2020, participated in the group exhibition Anticorps at the Palais de Tokyo.
Beyond Paris, Cheng received her first institutional solo exhibition at Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, a result of having won the coveted Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel in 2019 for her solo presentation with Parisian gallery Balice Hertling, who have been showing the artist's work since 2017.
In 2021, her work was included in the 13th Shanghai Biennale, too, with further representation established with the city's premier gallery for emerging artists, Antenna Space.
Coinciding with this acclaim are early signals of heated commercial interest in Cheng's work, with her auction debut at a Christie's evening sale in November 2021 bringing in a price some 750 percent over its pre-sale estimate. All signs point to a very promising future for Xinyi Cheng. —[O]
Main image: Xinyi Cheng, Parapetto (2021). 160 x 145 cm. Private collection, Hong Kong. Photo: © Aurélien Mole.