He Xi: Outside the Lines

In November 2019 Jonathan Cooper will be holding the first UK solo exhibition of contemporary Chinese painter He Xi.


Born in Beijing in 1960, He Xi lives and works in Shanghai. He has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions, including at the China Academy of Art Museum, the Suzhou Museum, and the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy Art Museum, and is Creative Research Director of the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy.


Working in the traditional media of ink and Chinese pigments, He Xi employs the materials and techniques of the great masters of Chinese painting, informed by the rigorous training that he received at the prestigious China Academy of Art. His works often feature motifs found in traditional Chinese painting, such as flowers, birds, and fish, yet are firmly contemporary in tone and style. Many of his compositions are inspired by ancient parables, and demonstrate their continuing relevance to our modern urban existence. Others, however, arise from his observation of the contemporary world, seeking always to express his experience and vision of life.


Quietly humorous and often enigmatic, his thought-provoking paintings encourage the viewer to form their own interpretations of his idiosyncratic scenes. Frequently exploring the theme of freedom versus containment, in them we find a reflection of the human condition in the natural world, and an invitation to question the limits, both psychological and environmental, that we face in our journey through life.


Shaped by the great tradition of Chinese painting but unique in contemporary Chinese art, He Xi’s work is both timeless and strikingly contemporary, and this exhibition will be an unmissable opportunity for admirers of Chinese art in Britain to discover the work of an exceptional modern master.