b. 1974, China

Xie Qi Biography

Caught between being and becoming, Xie Qi's paintings read like half-forgotten memories. She uses densely packed yet ethereal brushstrokes barely defining her subjects.

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Early Years

Xie Qi was born in Chongqing, China in 1974. She graduated from Beijing's Central Academy of Art and Design in 1998 and is now working and living in Beijing. The artist describes the difficulty of supporting herself in the city but suggests that 'comfortable is not good for art. Beijing relates directly to my work, and here I have to keep things simple.'

Xie Qi Artworks

Xie Qi materialises the elusive relationships between the body, objects, and the landscapes they inhabit through richly layered and diffuse brushwork.

The artist sources her subjects from photographs of friends, candid vernacular shots, everyday objects, and classical imagery, but isn't tied down by the act of representation. She draws out moments of clarity from the indistinct void—a nipple here, a walnut or tree there—but they're soon subsumed by the fluid, chromatic haze that permeates her work. In this nebulous space, Xie's approach renders an abstract sense of desire.

The unbearable weight of things

Xie Qi questions our fascination with the material world and the objects we imbue with meaning. She suggests that 'As our things accumulate, we begin to hear the incessant clamour of our things, in our most intimate spaces... One by one, the personalities of our things emerge, to the point that soon they too will have souls.'

In works such as Peaches (2015), Walnut (2015), and Twenty RMB Yuan (2012), these souls are laid bare. The titular objects are painted in luminous greens, stained throughout with rusty splashes of red. These phantom colours give the objects a sense of dread, as if Xie invokes ghostly apparitions that communicate a feeling of the thing, tinted through with ambiguity.

Ambiguous bodies

In her Clavicle series, Xie Qi explores features of the human body in a more focused way, although still filtered through the soft and hazy light that characterises her painting approach. The artist sees the clavicle as the axis of the human body, holding a space between figuration and abstraction from which the surrounding body parts emerge.

Purple Invading Red (2018), is perhaps the most articulated portrait in the series, with a spectral band of violet light cutting across the figure's clavicle. By contrast, in Timid and Strained 1 (2017), Xie crops the canvas at the edges of the torso and the chest becomes a field of colour and subtle light. Sexuality is abstracted in her work, barely visible but softly resonating through her paint application. Works from 2021, such as Mosquito Song and Daydream, take this abstraction further. Here, bands of paint cut across figures, segmenting faces and forms with a more incisive geometry than her earlier works.

Xie's process involves careful layering of paint with long periods of drying and contemplation between; paintings can take years to complete. She makes note that her figures are not magnified, narcissistic representations but seemingly randomly selected, ephemeral, and non-descript in their specificity. 'Appearance and shape, observed from different angles, are truly the main points', she explains. 'But of course there is always something behind it.'

Exhibitions

Xie Qi has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Disorder of Yeast, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland (2021); The Summer Heat Has Been Gone for Years, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Beijing, China (2021); Clavicle, BANK Gallery, Shanghai, China (2019); The Unbearable Weight of Things, Pekin Fine Arts, Hong Kong, China (2016); and Displacement, Dawan Art, Paris, France (2016).

Group exhibitions include Silent Theater Dual exhibition, HdM Gallery, Beijing, China (2021); DISFRUTA, BANK x Objective, Shanghai, China (2021); Clean, SPURS Gallery, Beijing, China (2020); Casting Votes, CLC Gallery, Beijing, China (2021); Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany (2019); and Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life, Institute for Provocation (IFP), Beijing, China (2019).

Website

Xie Qi's website can be found here.

Peter Derksen | Ocula | 2021

Xie Qi Featured Artworks

View All (11)
9pm by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Xie Qi 9pm, 2021 Oil on canvas
120 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
A Poet by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Xie Qi A Poet, 2019 Oil on canvas
120 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Wrinkles from Summer by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Xie Qi Wrinkles from Summer, 2021 Oil on canvas
200 x 250 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Mosquito Song by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Xie Qi Mosquito Song, 2021 Oil on canvas
100 x 120 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
August by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Xie Qi August, 2019 Oil on canvas
120 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Walnut and Fist by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting
Xie Qi Walnut and Fist, 2017 Oil on canvas
120 x 120 cm
HdM GALLERY Contact Gallery
Timid and Strained 2 by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting
Xie Qi Timid and Strained 2, 2018 Oil on canvas
100 x 80 cm
HdM GALLERY Contact Gallery
The Red Walnut by Xie Qi contemporary artwork painting
Xie Qi The Red Walnut, 2017 Oil on canvas
50 x 100 cm
HdM GALLERY Contact Gallery

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