Neo-Classical Interpretation of Minimalism @GALLERY SU: SEOUL
with works by Zhao Yiqian
(Chinese, born 1982)

The artist who liked classics and humanities since youth, found it easier to interact with friends who went abroad to Europe, when the nation gradually entered an age of materialism. Zhao especially attempted to lay the purity of painting in a new mode by neo-classically reinterpreting the resurrection of classicism during the Renaissance, rediscovery of nature, and individual creativity based on his own experiences, and research on post-humanism. Humanism or the human aspects such as sensibility, emotion, and creativity are the key issues in today’s society where A.I. is replacing human beings. For him, it is the artist’s role to try to return back to the age of classicism and recreate arts to reflect it through the mind of a young man. So the artist re-explores the importance of painting by thinking over and over the humanistic conceptions from the classics to the modern and spiritual issues embedded between two eras.

 

The rapid development and growth of Chinese economy and contemporary art loaded young artists with impetuosity about being successful. Some artists are exclusively represented by internationally renowned mega-galleries and other local artists are struggling to attract attention. In the meanwhile, Zhao Yiqian has exceptionally launched his own brand with the motif of his own painting, HuXi. He designs, exhibits, and sells his brand products at art shops and design malls in UCCA, K11 Art Foundation, among others. Zhao also managed to design art products for digital exhibition of Klimt which attracted great public attention in China.

 

His products designed with juxtaposition and rearrangement of images in his own painting include clutches, cellphone cases, teapots, plates, cushions, T-shirts, etc. HuXi products depict the face of Jesus adorned in the cloth of Veronica, the landscape painting of Yuan Dyansty, Flowers and Birds painting of Southern Song Dynasty, and such. By reinterpreting and rearranging classic paintings with contemporary colors and backgrounds, the artist creates special products with high-quality materials and master craftsmanship with the theme of neo-classical minimalism.

 

Behind the launch of art and design brand, the creative director of GUCCI, Alessandro Michele, had a significant influence. A big fan of Michele, Zhao Yiqian draws a portrait of Michele wearing anaglyph 3D and features GUCCI Collection in his painting. Michele comes from the family who collected art and grew up watching Renaissance paintings at home. The sensational runway of GUCCI Collection in 2018 featured various motifs of classic masterpieces. Michele’s attempt to graft humanism, supernaturalism and contemporary art with the Renaissance era are quite analogous in Zhao Yiqian’s brand HuXi.

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