Interview with Xu Cong

Gallery Director Alice Zou introduces Chinese artist Xu Cong and her latest solo exhibition Rain Drop at Fingerprint Gallery from 11th May - 11th June 2019, and curated by Bao Dong.

Video Transcript

This exhibition is a great exercise for the gallery to present Xu Cong’s work, it also offers an excellent experience for future exhibitions. 

Based on the given space, the artist created a body of work that consists of some large-scale acrylic paintings alongside some smaller works. The contrast of different sizes enhanced the essential meaning of this exhibition, which is to make an insignificant idea significant.

Xu Cong portrays rain drops as her subject matter, to dramatically give a new meaning to the subject. 

A rain drop on its own is rather insignificant, from the first moment of crystallization, a rain drop bears a short-lived life falling from the sky. Often, we celebrate the life that bursts from the earth rather than the cause of life from the very start.

It is a fascinating milestone for a post-80s artist who grew up in an era with a strong academic concept and a rigid system. It takes courage to break free from the academically influenced concepts and ideas. Perhaps, this is the so-called twentieth-century art with Chinese characteristics.

Xu Cong’s recent creations are the summary of her works over the past few years, yet it’s a brand-new start for the next chapter. Unlike her usual style, she almost forced herself and pulled herself away from so-called “academic” techniques and invented a style that is primitive and child-like. It is simple yet elegant.

She planned out her steps on sketches over and over again, the motif of such repetitions was to discover the most direct forms and colours to her ideas. 

Once satisfied with her thoughts, she then transfers it to canvas. She aims to paint with only one layer and she wouldn’t paint the same stroke twice. As a result, the imagery became symbolic and numerical.

I especially admire her new found confidence by clearly mapping out her thoughts step by step; her brush strokes went fast and slow, as they came with sound and motion. 

Colour plays an important role in her recent creations. They are bright and loud, sometimes not coordinated. Think of them as music that makes the lines and brush strokes dance.