b. 1973, Zhejiang. Lives and works in Hangzhou

Yuan Yuan paints interiors, usually in derelict buildings or ruins (Yerebatan Sarnici (2009) is set in the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, a colonnaded underground chamber built in Byzantine times). He likes empty and abandoned places, he says, because they give him a sense of freedom, the idea that “you can do whatever you want”. When he visits such sites, he often feels as if he is viewing forgotten artworks. When he paints them—often making subtle changes—he tries to summon up each place’s original atmosphere and capture the qualities that made it unique.

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