HomePage Artists

b. 1940, China

Qiu Shihua Biography

In a typical painting by Qiu Shihua (邱世华), what first appears as a blank canvas reveals itself to the careful observer as a delicately executed landscape shrouded in layers of pale paint. Requiring sustained gaze to reveal their contents, the works contain natural forms such as tufts of grass, trees or the line of a mountain ridge.

Read More

The careful balance between absence and presence in Qiu's works is in line with his Taoist beliefs, which place importance on the harmonious interaction between opposite forces in the cosmos. To achieve this balance, Qiu first applies the outline of a scene in a dark colour before obscuring it with multiple layers of semi-transparent oil paint.

Born in 1940 in Zhizhong in China's Sichuan province, Qiu completed his training in oil painting at Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts in 1962. At the time of his graduation, Qiu's painting style closely followed the stylistic tenets of Socialist Realism. Throughout the Cultural Revolution and up until 1984, the artist worked painting posters for a cinema in Tongchuan.

Travel has been markedly impactful on Qiu's style. In 1988, Qiu went to the Gobi Desert, which influenced the development of his vast, open scenes. After travelling to Europe in the early 1990s, Qiu began moving away from the traditional Shan Shui style (a method of Chinese landscape painting that dates from as early as the Tang Dynasty [618–907]) to embrace new aesthetic approaches. This shift was most distinct in his decision to use oil paint over ink or aquarelle, along with his intentional obscuring of the scene.

From afar, Qiu's minimalist rendering might be interpreted by a Western eye as monochromes in the vein of Robert Rauschenberg or Yves Klein. Yet Qiu's work, through its combination of Eastern and Western approaches, rejects approximation to one specific style or movement. Instead, Qiu offers viewers quietly ambivalent images—asserted in his decision to leave all of his works untitled—that provide the visual space for a moment of meditation. Time is thus a crucial component of the viewing experience of Qiu's work, in a similar manner to the time required before an image might appear when processing a photograph in a darkroom.

Qiu's paintings were presented in the artist's first European retrospective in 2012 at Hamburger Bahnhof. Qiu's work has been included in a number of exhibitions, including the 23rd Bienal de São Paulo (1996), the 5th Shanghai Biennale (2004) and Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2013).

Qiu lives and works between Beijing and Shenzhen.

Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2018

Qiu Shihua, Untitled (2009). Oil on canvas. 70 x 110 cm. Courtesy the Artist and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne. 

Qiu Shihua Featured Artworks

View All (28)
Untitled by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaUntitled, 2018Watercolour and oil on paper
51.4 x 87.6 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Untitled by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaUntitled, 2018Watercolour and oil on paper
50.6 x 38.5 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Untitled by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaUntitled, 1994Oil on canvas
40 x 50 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Untitled by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaUntitled, 1997Oil on canvas
70 x 90 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
2018.7.7 by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu Shihua2018.7.7, 2018Oil on Canvas
100 x 200 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape《風景》 by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaLandscape《風景》, 1997Oil on canvas
55 x 92 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape《風景》 by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaLandscape《風景》, 1997Oil on canvas
55 x 92 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape 1999.4《風景 一九九九年四月》 by Qiu Shihua contemporary artwork
Qiu ShihuaLandscape 1999.4《風景 一九九九年四月》, 1999Oil on canvas
242 x 388.5 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery

Qiu Shihua Current & Recent Exhibitions

View All (8)
Contemporary art exhibition, Qiu Shihua, Empty / Not Empty at Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne
Open Now
3 September–31 October 2020 Qiu Shihua Empty / Not Empty Galerie Urs MeileLucerne
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Shifting at Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne
Closed
8–29 August 2020 Group Exhibition Shifting Galerie Urs MeileLucerne
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Gallery Weekend Beijing at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing
Closed
22–31 May 2020 Group Exhibition Gallery Weekend Beijing Galerie Urs MeileBeijing

Qiu Shihua Represented By

Galerie Urs Meile contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Galerie Urs Meile Beijing, Lucerne
Hanart TZ Gallery contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hanart TZ Gallery Hong Kong

Qiu Shihua In Ocula Magazine

Gallery Weekend Beijing: Exhibition Lowdown Ocula Report Gallery Weekend Beijing: Exhibition Lowdown By Tessa Moldan, Beijing

Between 22 and 31 May, Gallery Weekend Beijing returns for its fourth edition across 798 Art District. This lowdown provides a selection of exhibitions to catch as spring turns to summer in the capital.

Fade out copy.
Read More

Qiu Shihua In Related Press

Art Insider: Johnson Chang Related Press Art Insider: Johnson Chang 27 September 2018, Hong Kong Tatler

With his thick-rimmed glasses, Mandarin-collar jacket and broad smile, Johnson Chang is an instantly recognisable figure at many of Hong Kong's art events—but he's famous for far more than his fashion sense.

Fade out copy.
Read More
Qiu Shihua Related Press Qiu Shihua 3 November 2013, Frieze

At the mention of 'contemporary Chinese painting', many in the West think of stereotyped images of grotesquely overdrawn laughing Communist Party officials.

Fade out copy.
Read More

Be among the first to know when new artworks and exhibitions by Qiu Shihua are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
;