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Artist brings island-inspired show to Beijing

Updated: 2017-07-25 07:43:06

( China Daily )

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Zhang Lei, a Nanjing-based artist. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zhang has many black-and-white paintings in his "simple and straightforward" way, and they reveal his easy attitude toward life and the larger natural environment.

His subjects include villagers, dense woods, abandoned cottages and vineyards on Jiangxinzhou that formed the basis of his daily life there. In his works, he rearranges them to create dreamy scenes in surrealistic style.

For example, he enlarges the eyes of people or depicts a bird that is disproportionally larger than the mountains where it lives.

Some other works portray a dark field under a few stars or a beam of light projected by a coming bicycle, revealing a feeling of both refreshment and loneliness.

Many of his paintings are inspired by scenes that he saw daily in Jiangxinzhou while still in college: He had to wake up early to take boat rides to Nanjing, stayed at school until late and went back home through the empty fields of Jiangxinzhou.

Zhang says although the island's landscape was his motivation to create the different pieces, he didn't paint "poetic narratives", rather, he sought to communicate the inner peace of the island, a luxury that is difficult to find elsewhere and provided him the courage to cope with his transition to big-city life.

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