Pigeon’s House is a work that superimposes the ‘beautiful disorder’ of the contemporary Chinese urban environment onto the pastoral landscape of Cass Sculpture Foundation. The 4.5 metre tall sculpture is in itself an amalgamation of the hybrid architectonic features that now characterises China’s modern capital: elements of Bauhaus practicality, Soviet rigour, Japanese vitalism and the dynamism of the International Style are impossibly twisted together into a singular vertical structure, as if by the very torsion of China’s urgent socio-economic development. While many Greater Chinese artists, who have centred on urban change in China over the past 30 years, have nostalgically focused on the ruins of the past and lamented the demise of Beijing’s traditional dwellings, Cui represents a new generation of Chinese artists whose work unflinchingly explores the failed experiments of modernity, architectural or otherwise.
About The Artist
To date, Cui Jie is best known for her ambitious architectural paintings, characterized by a distinctly fractured, multi-perspectival and non-linear aesthetic. The various layers that Cui applies to canvas are based on real as well as imaginary images, which equally represent the surreal transformation of China’s urban landscape over the last thirty years. Pigeon’s House is thus a unique and trailblazing work – the first instance in which this promising young artist has effectively translated her accomplished painterly practice into an evocative three-dimensional form. Cui Jie’s painting work derives from her interest in absurd contemporary Chinese socio-political behaviour. She is greatly inspired by Orson Welles multifaceted perspective which is evident through her application of various metaphorical image layers, each composed of imaginary and realistic scenes on canvas. Every layer is meticulously executed exposing art-historical moments and sculptural impastos to represent the transformation of China's urban landscape over the course of the last century. Her compositions are eclectic and anachronistic, folding conflicting time periods and architectural styles together to create a confusing plateau of ambiguity and madness. For instance her works meld Bauhaus, Chinese propaganda and Soviet communist aesthetics into one world creating condensed irrational and nonsense paintings that re-imagine and coagulate the past, present and future.