“The important thing is not the number of objects on the canvas, but the meaning of each object.”

Born 1987, Shanghai

Zhu Peihong’s inspiration comes from both nature and the city he lives in. My Space (2010) started with doodles—made in characteristically meticulous detail—of dead leaves and power lines. These gradually became more abstract, a style the artist finds “simpler and more pure”. The acrylic colours reflect the city, he says: “the neon lights, cars, buildings, advertisements everywhere”. Putting all these things into a single painting was above all a quest for balance. He left large areas of the carefully whitewashed canvas blank, and tied shapes together with looped “threads” to “make the painting more tidy”. “It took me a long time to think it through,” Zhu Peihong says, “and I took many breaks in between as I painted.” The work’s title sums up what it means to him: “When I was painting, I felt I was making my own space. I felt free.”

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