A selling exhibition of Chang Lei’s recent work highlights the Beijing artist’s concerns about evolving China.
In Tainted Beauty, Chang Lei’s debut in London, the artist presents a collection of his most recent work “evoking the splendor and sadness encapsulated in Beijing’s famed operatic tradition, and indeed China’s cultural history as a whole,” says a notice from Hua Gallery.
Alongside fictional characters as subjects in his art are images of the Great Wall, Chinese ceramics, terracotta warriors, deities and historical icons. Stark contrasts between sombre background tones and glowing highlights mark Chang Lei’s forays into China’s past.
“His paintings evoke both positive and negative events that have marked the course of the centuries, aiming to achieve ‘the truth’. In this sense, Chang is searching for the beauty of truth.”
Chang Lei paints female figures from the Beijing opera described as allegories on Keats’ romantic ideal, beauty is truth and truth is beauty.
Chang Lei was born in Jinan, Shandong Province, in 1976. He studied at Xu Beihong Fine Arts High School before attending Jianshe University in Beijing. He was a member of a rock band and also created performance art. His work has been exhibited in European venues and in New York. He lives and works in Beijing.
Tainted Beauty. 29 October 2014-28 January 2015 (Monday to Friday: 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am – 6pm), Hua Gallery, Unit 7B, G/F, Albion Riverside, 8 Hester Road, Battersea, London SW11 4AX