Born 1981, Laiwu, Shandong. Lives and works in Beijing.

Qi Wenzhang paints people. Alone or in pairs, they are usually naked and almost always in natural settings. At first glance, his pictures evoke the Garden of Eden, but this impression is instantly undermined by contradictions in style and imagery. Naked couples are often male. Pristine, primeval scenes are rendered in the clashing colours and vigorous lines of Expressionism. Trees and flowers are ubiquitous, but sky, earth and human skin are fractured or mottled. Surreality intrudes: sun-like rays surround a running figure, transparent “angels” tug at a man’s arm. Qi Wenzhang’s subjects seem to be lost or searching for something, caught—like many contemporary Chinese—in a world that appears benevolently ordered but is pervaded by darkness and chaos.

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