Qiu Shihua

May 12 - July 8, 2012
Galerie Urs Meile Beijing


Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne is honored to present Qiu Shihua’s (*1940 in Zizhong, Sichuan Province, China; lives and works in Shenzhen and Beijing, China) new solo exhibition, featuring a broad selection of the artist’s recent oil paintings as well as examples of earlier works stretching back to the late 90s.

Looking at first glance like near-monochromic white canvasses, under longer scrutiny Qiu Shihua’s ethereal paintings reveal--in a process of visual perception reminiscent of photographic development--the gradual appearance of magnificent aerial or frontal landscapes. Despite their seeming whiteness, the depicted scenes are actually masterfully constructed through different layers of varyingly diluted paint and primary colors. Resulting from the artist’s process of mental visualization, Qiu Shihua’s contemplative paintings reflect his Daoist approach to existence and imply some references, in terms of structure, to pre-modern Chinese landscape painting. Combining traditional Oriental philosophy with a personal interpretation of Western classical pictorial elements drawn from Romanticism and Impressionism, in Qiu’s paintings the light plays a central role and, acquiring not only a material but also a highly spiritual dimension, becomes the “punctum”. The light is the access key to the revelation of the image, which occurs only with the surrender of our acknowledged logic of thinking and viewing in favor of an active and time consuming process of observation / non-observation.

The exhibition at the Beijing branch of Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne represents an extraordinary occasion for international audiences to observe the development of Qiu Shihua’s artistic practice throughout the last two decades. The show will be held concurrently with Qiu Shihua’s large-scale solo exhibition “Qiu Shihua - White Field” (April 26 - August 5, 2012), hosted by the Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. Including about forty paintings on canvas and paper dating from the early 70s up to today, “Qiu Shihua - White Field” constitutes the first touring retrospective show by a Chinese contemporary artist ever to be displayed in the Nationalgalerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart. After Hamburger Bahnhof, the exhibition will travel to Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Germany (September 8, 2012 – January 6, 2013), and continue its tour to other leading European museums.

The exhibition “Qiu Shihua - White Field” at the Hamburger Bahnhof will be accompanied by an extensive publication available at the front desk of Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne: “Qiu Shihua”, published by Richter & Fey Verlag, 
German / English, 180 pages.

Qiu Shihua was born in 1940 in Zizhong, Sichuan Province, China. In 1962 he graduated from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, oil painting department, where he was trained in Chinese traditional painting and Russian Social Realist painting. Throughout the Cultural Revolution and until 1984 he worked as a poster painter for a theater in Tongchuan. He lives and works in Beijing, Shenzhen and San Francisco. Qiu Shihua has participated in several international solo exhibitions and group shows, including: “Shanshui – Poetry Without Sound? Landscape in Chinese Contemporary Art”, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2011); “Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection”, The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA (2008); Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2004); “Qiu Shihua”, The New York Kunsthalle, New York, USA; 2nd Berlin Biennale (2001); “d’APERTutto”, La Biennale di Venezia, 48 Esposizione Internationale d’Arte, Venice, Italy (1999); and “Qiu Shi-hua”, Basel Kunsthalle, Basel, Switzerland (1999).