“Forests interest me as they form traces of existence which connote a speculative past / present notation.” – Zhu Xinyu
Born in Liaoning, China in 1980, Zhu Xinyu graduated from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, and currently lives and works in Beijing. Known for creating theatrical effects, he masters the trade of staging a mysterious scene and then adds imageries of real objects to it in order to produce an uncharacteristic collage of images. Zhu’s works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Belgium, France, Singapore, China and Taiwan since 2007. As if time has frozen still in the scenes, the evocative tonalities on his canvas become spaces for meditation and quiet reminiscence, as well as a metaphor for timelessness. The narrative within eludes us, yet the mesmerizing light and play of architectural lines of the natural world imbue the scene with an alternative consciousness or fragmented memories. They are a retreat from society, civilization and companionship, and also catalysts for possibilities and revelations.
In Black Banner, the forests that Zhu Xinyu paints are characteristically of an ethereal quality and atmospheric mystery. They are the type of places that exist in our imagination between the realms of light and shadow, almost transcending into the supernatural. His works are personal reflections or allusion of one’s fears, insecurities, dreams and inner self.
Exhibited in 2011 in Zhu’s first solo exhibition in Beijing, Black Banner is a haunting image of a vague trace of a figure playing at a grand piano amidst a desolate forest with ghostly shadows of forlorn trees. On one hand, the painting represents the natural cycles of life and death, and the passing of time. On another, the remnants and traces of industrial civilization and its destruction in this work make the canvas in fact a huge emotional receptacle for the artist. As such, filled with layer upon layer of ambiguity and time-space disparity, Black Banner is a unique and convincing creation of the artist’s inner self and outpour of his sentiments.