In early 2011 two paintings by an emerging Chinese artist were acquired for the White Rabbit Collection. They used an unusual technique derived from the aerial mapping of cities to produce large, apparently abstract canvases with grids and formalist designs. Critics noted they recalled the paintings of Piet Mondrian and the early Modernist de Stijl artists and designers. The artist was Lu Xinjian, a Shanghai-based painter who had indeed studied in the Netherlands and had loved Dutch design since he was a young student in Nanjing. The two paintings, from his important early City DNA series, turned out not to be abstract at all, but rather represented aerial views of Beijing and Venice. Sources for his imagery included maps and satellite views of each location, as well as photographs, but the artist sees his work as philosophically complex and multi-layered. He believes cities are built and defined by history, culture and language as much as by geography; each is distinct and unique, despite the homogenising impact of globalisation.
City DNA Beijing, 2010, oil on canvas
City DNA Venice, 2010, oil on canvas
See a conversation between Lu Xinjian and White Rabbit Collection Manager of Research Luise Guest HERE: