Feng Zhengjie

俸 正杰

Painter, *1968 Sichuan, lives in Beijing

Feng Zhengjie, 2009

Feng Zhengjie (born 1968, Sichuan Province, China) is an artist based in Beijing. Originally a high-school and college art teacher in Sichuan, he came to Beijing in 1995.

His best-known work is his Portrait of China series, very large Warhol-style oil portraits, in a red-and-turquoise palette, of Chinese fashion model faces with vacant diverging eyes (his signature style). Critics view his work as a critique of contemporary consumer society. His early paintings were inspired by 1930s Shanghai posters. His more recent work is based on the red and green of traditional Chinese New Year art, the colors made "more acid, a representation of the flashy, commercial nature of modern China".

Reminiscent of Warhol’s screen-printed celebrities, Feng’s paintings reflect a vision of futuristic pop. His generic portraits of women are influenced by promotional imagery: their exotic colours, electrified auras, and wind machine hair exude the glamour aesthetic of commodified desire. Feng appropriates these staples of western kitsch as a readymade lingo for a duplicity of ideology. His work is often discussed as capitalist critique, his empty eyed models posing as frivolous and vacant signifiers are neither western nor Chinese in appearance. Feng’s femmes fatales are a super-hybrid of commercial beauty, a science fiction product of globalisation.

Painted in massive scale (300x400 cm), Feng’s canvases replicate the billboards from which they were inspired. Without text, or accompanying products, Feng’s paintings streamline their hard-sell ethos. Removing all distraction, he exposes the essence of temptation, magnifying the sex appeal of fantasy lifestyle and its gulf of intangibility. Transposing these disposable sentiments through his highly refined painting technique, Feng glorifies the allure of advertising as epic, enduring, and numbingly empty.