‘A city is a living ecosystem, and things are all interwoven with one another in their own ways.’
Born 1983, Shanghai. Lives and works in Shanghai.
Trained in the powerhouse Oil Painting Department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Cui Jie represents a young generation of Chinese artists whose formative childhood memories are of the excitement, disruption and change of the first flowering of the ‘Reform and Opening’ era that transformed China. Born in Shanghai, trained in Hangzhou and now living back in the megacity of Shanghai after a period in Beijing, Cui Jie loves the vitality of Chinese cities, with their continually reconstructed public spaces. She collages images of ubiquitous Soviet-style apartment blocks, modernist steel and glass office towers, and idiosyncratic buildings that combine ‘Chinese characteristics’ with western features to create hybrid urban landscapes. Her paintings juxtapose actual buildings seen and photographed in Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou with public sculptures and windswept open plazas from different locations. We seem to be looking through plate glass windows; reflections and refractions partially obscure our view as we follow the artist on her path through this constantly transforming architectural confusion, an unsettling experience emphasised by distorted perspective, odd angles and a luminous palette inspired by Early Renaissance masters such as Piero della Francesca. Cui’s paintings reflect her own experiences as she moves through the urban landscape: most of the buildings and sculptures in her paintings are less than 30 years old.