Xie Lei’s painting career took off fairly late: he was born in 1983, but only started focusing on his art in 2005. As such, the poetic eloquence and technical skill of his work is certainly impressive. The paintings at his new show at Gallery Anne de Villepoix show off broad, vaporous brushstrokes that dramatise the magical expressionism of his artistic vision. The monochromatic shades that he uses copiously in his work have an almost diaphanous quality, enhanced by the shimmering purples and blue-greens that dominate his canvases.
Henry-Claude Cousseau has pointed out that Xie’s work posits a rather peculiar and unique perspective on the nature of humankind: “It is the extension of the antique tradition of the fable that both China and the West share, a reflection of ancestral wisdom in which animals were readily substituted for men.” Indeed, the human figures in Xie’s work are often visually inchoate, with blurred heads that make them resemble ghostly spectres. Xie’s paintings signal a retreat into the literary world as a means of marrying Western culture and Chinese traditions, gently shedding light on the enigmatic quality of dreams with spirited spontaneity.
Xie Lei’s exhibition is on at Anne de Villepoix Gallery until 9 November.
Gallery Anne de Villepoix, 43 rue Montmonrency, 75003 Paris, France
Images courtesy of the gallery and the artist.