The Art of Lu Xinjian
Shanghai-based artist Lu Xinjian is one of China’s brightest contemporary artists exhibiting his abstract, vibrant paintings globally. We catch up with Xinjian to discuss his work and latest collection, Reflections.
By: Kevin Daniel Dwyer
Abstraction is a truly global language... a product of specific cultures, but it is not necessarily the cultural background of the artist themselves,” says Shanghai-based artist Lu Xinjian. One of China’s brightest talents on the contemporary art scene, Lu Xinjian’s abstract works are easily recognizable, harmonious, colorful and above all, original. His works are also widely collected, auctioned and have been exhibited in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Beijing, Vancouver, Marbella, London, Shanghai and New York, to name a few. Add to the list numerous collaborations with top brands including Absolute Vodka, Beats by Dr. Dre and Adidas, and you have the Chinese contemporary artist to watch.
But the road to international artist was a long one for Xinjian and not without struggle. Born in 1977 in a rural mountainous village and the son of a poor farmer, Xinjian’s choice to major in graphic design was purely economic. After years of conservative Chinese education and steady exposure to to the freedom of the West, he finally saved enough money to enroll at the Interactive Media and Environment Department at the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen. It was here that he was heavily influenced by his mentor and founder of the institute, Petri Leijdekkers, who exposed Xinjian to the De Stijl movement and the works of Mondrian. “I gave him (Xinjian) the book De Stijl 1917-1931, by the Dutch historian H.L.C. Jaffe, which made a great impression. It legitimized the imagery for his own Confucian quest for harmony,” recalls Leijdekkers.
The boy from the tiny village who witnessed China’s urban explosion suddenly had a vision for his work, creating an art form around the metropolises springing up across China. His debut into the art world was City DNA, a series of large abstract paintings solely composed of lines, crosses, ticks and symbols. With his success and subsequent travels around the world, his work evolved into more complex and highly detailed abstractions of global cities. Today, his latest collection entitled Reflections, vibrantly showcases his signature use of lines, colors and shapes which collectively cohere into recognizable images composed of abstractions. Each work is aptly titled after its site location, ranging from ancient Chinese temples, to Italian cathedrals to modern day city skylines.
In the following pages, we showcase selected works from Reflections and consider all that is reflected: the iconic locations themselves, the memories, sensations and feelings for each sense of place, and the idealism and dreams Xinjian had for a bigger, better life as a child, abstract as that may have been. G
To learn more about Reflections and Lu Xinjian’s work,
contact Martin Kemble at ART LABOR