Jiang-Hong Chen


Jiang-Hong Chen

Chen Jiang-Hong was born in Tianjin (China) in 1963. After graduating, he decided to set out to discover the rest of the world and foreign cultures. He was accepted to the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 1988, and noticed by art critics the following year. In the midst in the “Beijing Spring”, his paintings were exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, a rare opportunity for such a young contemporary artist. From that moment onward, his career was launched.

Chen’s work reflects his career path, midway between the two different cultures he grew up in. Moving away from traditional Asian materials like silk or paper, and influenced by the Western heritage, the artist paints on canvas: either with ink when using a raw canvas, or with oil on a coated canvas. Thinned down with turpentine, the oil gains the fluidity of ink and can be applied as such. However, the use of pure wolf hair brushes binds Chen Jiang-Hong’s art with traditional Chinese calligraphy. Theses brushes allow the artist to cover a large surface with a single gesture, so essential for his works.

Belonging to the traditional Xieyi painting style (literally: “writing the intent” or “writing the idea”), Chen’s artistic expression is deeply connected to breathing, meditation and freehand gestures. The artist starts by laying the canvas on the floor of his studio, then he applies the soaked brush onto the blank surface, and starts painting in a kind of choreography resembling Tai Chi creating his painting.

Though, he began his career with a figurative style to which he was able to give a new dynamic, the painter has since turned to abstraction with an astonishing lyricism.

“Even though gestures have always mattered to Chen, they are heightened here, to a point where the subject of the painting itself […] disappears, giving way to what preoccupies the artist: the painting. In place of easily identifiable lotus flowers, a pattern now slowly appears, waiting to be sensed, as emerging from our memory. Light, color and movement are the key pillars of this fiery painting.” (A. Palermo, "Chen Jiang-Hong, au plus près de la peinture", 2015).