He Sen:“Engagement” with Painting


LIKE most followers of contemporary Chinese artists who have come to prominence over the past 10 to 15 years, I have identified certain ones by subject or style for so long, that it is often startling to meet them and discover that they are producing a dramatically different body of work. This was the case when I visited He Sen in late 2009 in his studio located in the Beijing art district commonly referred to as the Liquor Factory.



Rebellious Monkey King, 2008. 


As a 1989 graduate of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in Chongqing, He Sen could easily be connected spiritually if not stylistically to a group of fellow Sichuan painters like Zhao Nengzhi and Zhang Xiaogang who experimented in the post “cultural revolution” days with expressionism as a means of conveying opinions about their rapidly changing society. Like many young artists their earliest work thematically dealt with the need for establishing an identity and often reflected the solemn emptiness of the pursuit.

 Ma Yuan’s Twelve Images of Water, 2008.

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