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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Cui Jie

b. 1983, China

Cui Jie (崔洁) draws from modernist art and 20th- and 21st-century architectural tropes to create layered paintings of utopian (or dystopian) urban scenese that allude to China's recent and rapid urbanisation.

Featuring futuristic structures that appear at once real and imagined, Cui's architectural paintings often reference the effects of rapid urbanisation on the landscape. Cui's works are characterised by their layering, collage-like fragmentation, and multiple distorted viewpoints that question the figure-ground relationship. She also draws from the architectural idiosyncrasies of the Bauhaus movement, as well as the aesthetics of 20th-century Chinese propaganda and Soviet art.

Cui's characteristic toying with perspective is particularly evident in the painting Corner Building (2017), in which various buildings and a figurative sculpture seem to float in the sky. Parts of the building and sky show through the otherwise-opaque sculpture, while architectural lines are visible in the clouds, confusing the distinction between foreground and background.

Cui's works often function as comparative studies of specific cities. In the painting Shanghai Bank Tower 2 (2017), a spiralling structure merges with what appears to be the titular building. The spiral structure is reminiscent of Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International (1920)—a key work of Russian Constructivism. Indeed, Cui's aesthetic is often reminiscent of Russian Constructivism—particularly in her emphasis on geometric forms, manmade structures and the aesthetics of industry.

Cui's works frequently reference Chinese propagandist themes of shared community and destiny. The painting Ground Invading Figure #35 (2015), for example, depicts a group of soldiers surrounding a wounded man. In its huddled composition and depiction of uniformed soldiers, the painting draws heavily from the nationalist and socialist realist styles common to the Mao era; yet Cui injects her own contemporary elements such as graphic lines and nonrealistic shapes. In the artwork, are multiple intersections between each solider, not unlike the cross-sections in Cui's architectural paintings. As the figures gather around the wounded man, the individual begins to blend into the collective and the canvas becomes fragmented.

Born in 1983 in Shanghai, Cui graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2006 and is currently based in Beijing. Her work has been exhibited at various art institutions such as MoMA PS1, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Saint Petersburg; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, amongst others. Cui was part of the group exhibition The Enormous Space at OCAT Shenzhen in 2018. In the same year, she participated in An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, the inaugural edition of the FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Perwana Nazif | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Escape #2 by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieEscape #2, 2017 Acrylic and oil on canvas
Para Site
Hangzhou Honglou Hotel #4 by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieHangzhou Honglou Hotel #4, 2018 3D Selected Laser Sintering, frame
Metro Pictures
Beijing TV Building by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieBeijing TV Building, 2017 Oil and acrylic on canvas
230 x 150 cm
Metro Pictures
Shanghai Industrial Building by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieShanghai Industrial Building, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
250 x 180 cm
Metro Pictures
Tianjin Book Building #2 by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieTianjin Book Building #2, 2018 Acrylic and oil on canvas
200 x 190 cm
Metro Pictures
Computer Building of Hubei Engineering University by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieComputer Building of Hubei Engineering University, 2018 Acrylic and oil on canvas
150 x 200 cm
Pilar Corrias
Shanghai Broadcasting Building by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieShanghai Broadcasting Building, 2018 Acrylic and oil on canvas
200 x 150 cm
Pilar Corrias
Guangzhou Telecom Building by Cui Jie contemporary artwork Cui JieGuangzhou Telecom Building, 2017 3D print photopolymer resin
24.4 x 26.5 x 50 cm
Pilar Corrias

Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, An Opera for Animals at Para Site, Hong Kong
Open Now
23 March–9 June 2019 Group Exhibition An Opera for Animals Para Site, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Witness at Pilar Corrias, London
7 April–4 May 2018 Group Exhibition Witness Pilar Corrias, London

Represented By

In Related Press

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Cui Jie Is Now Represented by Metro Pictures, Pilar Corrias, and Antenna Space Related Press Cui Jie Is Now Represented by Metro Pictures, Pilar Corrias, and Antenna Space ARTnews : 14 May 2018

The Shanghai-based artist Cui Jie is now represented by the galleries Metro Pictures (of New York), Pilar Corrias (London), and Antenna Space (Shanghai).

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The Enormous Space Related Press The Enormous Space ArtAsiaPacific : 1 March 2018

In 1989, British author JG Ballard published The Enormous Space, a short story about Gerald Ballantyne, a man who withdraws from the world and fortifies himself in his abode, not due to agoraphobia but to 'experiment' with reducing his immediate environment to nothing but his house, committing what is in effect a slow suicide. OCAT Shenzhen's...

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Rearviews & Mirrors Related Press Rearviews & Mirrors Frieze : 8 February 2018

Representations of the future always look dated as soon as the future itself arrives. Part of China’s post-1980s generation, the artist Cui Jie makes paintings that continually confound our sense of time in their seeming nostalgia for the future. Set against a metallic sky and often floating above a similarly reflective gridded ground, Cui’s...

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Emerging from Ai Weiwei's shadow: China's new art Related Press Emerging from Ai Weiwei's shadow: China's new art The Art Newspaper : 3 November 2015

This month the Royal Academy in London will host a highly anticipated solo show by China’s most famous living artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. In the last five years alone the artist once dismissively referred to as “China’s Warhol” in the mainstream Western media has been transformed into a celebrated icon of resistance...

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