“Each of my paintings comes from the memory of a past experience.”
Jing Zhiyong’s works look at first glance like kindergarten paintings. But their childlike appearance belies careful reflection and meticulous planning. After making drafts in black and white and in colour, the artist transfers his design in pencil onto a canvas as tall as he is. As he fills in his colouring-book-style outlines, he reveals an artist’s understanding of perspective and a cartoonist’s concision and wit. The protagonist of his paintings is Jing Zhiyong’s nine-year-old self, acting out a mix of real events and dreams. Of Where Can I Touch? (2009), the artist says: “When I was very young, I was really curious about women’s underwear. A few times someone else saw me touching it, and I felt really embarrassed.” Fighting With Gangsters (2009) records a wistful fantasy: “I always wanted to be a hero and protect others from the naughty kids in the neighbourhood, but I was too scared.” Like many members of his generation of solo children, Jing Zhiyong says, “I pay attention only to my own life and feelings, my personal experiences, my dreams and imaginings.” For him, politics and social commentary are part of the world of adults, a place he prefers to avoid.