The Dust of a Long Journey
March 25, 2022
Chen Yingjie (aka. Hua Tunan)’s powerful fusion of Chinese ink painting and Western graffiti art encapsulates a range of emotions in his dynamic compositions. Chen’s long-standing flamboyant personality and enthusiasm in his creations, but also allude to his lesser-known delicate and introspective qualities. The exploration period in his current creations that are restrained yet wild at the same time, as well as the rich synchronicity of contradiction and harmony in his paintings. All the multifarious creations at the end return to the same specific yet complex mind of the artist. At the end of the day, the evolution of art forms is closely related to reality — this is the artist's humble and keen response in his life experience of the changing times.
“The Dust of a Long Journey” comprehensively showcases the artist’s creative context and development in recent years, especially the philosophical thinking and new attempts of painting revealed in "Gravity" and "Shangri-La" series. In the unprecedented pandemic times, Chen contemplates the dialectical relationship between man and nature, ecology and civilization, as well as self and other. The artist attempts to explore the eternal tension between artist and art through his action paintings incorporating abstract and figurative components, and rediscover the position of individual spirits and regional cultures in the ever-changing world.
Cold shivery breeze from the 50th parallel north; thunder pouring down from the clouds — they were astonished by the splendor of nature in the flickering forest. Time is dragged infinitely in this confrontation between magnificence and insignificance, speed and motionlessness, as if particles of dust floating in the pupil. The sudden weightlessness is transformed into primitive motivation, becoming the conflict and harmony in the infinite, cyclic, and ethereal inspiration of the creation.
As the artist’s latest series of works, “Gravity” starts with the tradition of Chinese landscape painting and recreates images with individuality. Eventually, it abandons the dependence on symbols and tends towards abstract yet candid expressions.
Whether it is the surreal combination of mountains and rivers, color blocks resembling growth of cells or the application of fluorescent materials, they are as if creating a fragile yet balanced ecosystem that contains everything.
"Shangri-la" as a sub-series of the "Gravity" series was carried out in the Shangri-La region of Yunnan. As a combination of realistic and impressionistic sketching, the work pursues a focused experiment on lines and spirit in a black and white monochrome.
Some improvised in outdoor nature; some cultivated in the studio, the works project the artist’s flexible relationship between external and internal self on different scales of time and space.
"Breaking" recreates the classic dragon image in Chinese culture through the innovative use of street painting tools. The artist defines his own existence through the extended relationship between body, tools and canvas.
The cultural symbol in "Reconstruct Universe" took reference from Lingnan folk traditions of the artist's hometown Foshan, as a result of the interaction between individual experience and socio-historical memory. Emphasis on the integration of painting and music is in sight on the canvas, which also highlights the consistent feature of 'live' and 'performance' in Chen’s works — this series was in fact created in passionate rhythm music.
Chen Yingjie was born in 1991 in Guangdong, China, and currently lives and works in Shunde, Foshan. In addition to on-canvas, the artist also devotes himself to large-scale mural painting, live performance and space installation.
Through different media, he has been striving to explore the combination of traditional Chinese ink painting and Western street art graffiti and arouse widespread attention. In 2020, Chen was selected for Forbes 30 Under 30.
Chen’s works have been exhibited in art institutions around the world, including Paris, London, Brussels, Chicago, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. His works are collected by museums and institutions including, "The Honolulu Museum of Art", "The World Wide Fund For Nature Hong Kong" and "The CapitaLand Limited Singapore".
The artist also set foot in crossover cooperation with Internationally renowned brands such as Cartier, BMW and Louis Vuitton. In 2022, Vans and Chen launched a global joint cooperation for the Year of the Tiger.