“For me, painting only seems to be about its subject.  The artists are actually painting their inner selves.  It’s the same with me.”

Born 1976, Yunyang, Chongqing. Lives and works in Chengdu and Beijing

Xiang Qinghua’s first encounters with the adult world were disappointing. He found its rules trying and its routines dull. “Because I was so unhappy with reality, I started painting childhood memories,” he says. From there he moved on to a different kind of escape, into the tranquility of nature. His monochromatic paintings of natural scenes in the rain at night focus on the encounters between dim light and water. In works such as Still Water 3 (2009), the scenes are empty of people—the only reminders of humanity are concrete paths and tidy rows of trees.  The lack of colour or movement and the shimmering water convey a profound quietness. “I try to use painting to create a sense of stillness and peace,” the artist says.

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