The Art Beatus Gallery has been instrumental in bringing contemporary Chinese art to the forefront, and this exhibition of work by Qiu Zhijie is no exception. Zhijie uses a diverse range of presentation modes to convey political and social messages. Three themes or what he calls ìforcesî are apparent. The first is the lotus flower of traditional Chinese illustration, here reinvented in dense patterns of small cell-like forms, airbrushed with acrylic on linen in monochromatic colours. Zhijieís ambiguous figure-ground relationships will challenge the field-dependent viewer. A second theme is calligraphic Chinese characters on black and white portrait photographs. They are greatly enlarged in scale to magnify their meaning. At the same time they act as tattoos, making clear what the artist calls ìthe socialized bodyî of life in China today. In his third mode, viewers may be confronted with face-to-face video projections of figures and landscapes, or walk through an installation of ink-on-cloth banners that ìdivide and sortî a world of Chinese characters. Zhijieís artwork conveys a strong sense of Zen. He classifies and assembles each type of imagery into systems that equally articulate detail and entirety.
© Mia Johnson