Song Kun


Painter *1977 Baotou, Inner Mongolia, lives in Beijing

All photos are from Song Kun's Website

Song Kun, 2007, photo

Born 1977 in Baotou the capital of Autonomous Inner Mongolia, 内蒙古; Nèi Měnggǔ, Song Kun was a founding member of the artist group N12 during her student years at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, where she completed her master’s degree in oil painting in 2006.

April Fools' Day” series, 2002, oil on canvas, 60x50 cm, photos songkun

Unaffected by the political upheavals of the older generation, raised in the new culture of commercial plenty, Song Kun's painting is an unusually personal, introspective record of her inner development as artist and woman. Her paintings are tranquil and lack ambition. With very few exceptions they are unpolitical. What has driven the creation of these works over the years has been her innocent desire to find her connections, both real and spiritual, to this world, and she fantasizes that once she finds these connections, she can then go on to exist with tenacity. Her eyes are her most important asset in that search, as the above early series shows.

“Incog”, 2003, oil on canvas, 65x91 cm

“Jehad”, 2004, oil on canvas, 50x60 cm

“Nanhuqu”, 2004, oil on canvas, 140x180 cm

During 2003-2004 an Islamic jihad movement swept across Inner Mongolia - which in contrast to the Buddhist (outer) Mongolian Republic is predominantly Moslem. Song Kun lived in Beijing. Shy as she is, she found herself being called upon to temporarily turn into a holy warrior and document the miserable human conditions in her neighborhood (Wangjing-Nanhuqu), a northeastern district of Beijing.

It's My Life”series 2005, oil on canvas, 27x35 cm (10x14”)

It’s My Life” (2005) is an auto-biographical series in which Song Kun produced diminutive paintings of the world through her observations everyday for a year, and exhibited all 366 of them in her Beijing solo exhibition in 2006. These works provided glimpses into the narrative of her life by focusing on small romances of the ordinary, and also an exploration of the world from a woman’s unique psychological and physiological perspective.
For several years she explored the whole spectrum of big city diversions and temptations from boredom and sex to drugs, always candidly painting her dark despair, hallucinations, and exuberant joy.

“Cocoon”, 2010, oil, 65x45 cm

“Yoyo Baby in my Heart”, 2010, oil, 60x45 cm

“Eclosion”, 2010, oil, 155x110 cm

This period of trials seems to have come to rest in 2010 when she gave birth to Yoyo. By the end of that year she felt she had hatched from a cocoon hanging like a butterfly pupa from a thin wire upside down (eclosion).

A Thousand Kisses Deep” series, 2012, oil on canvas, No1 and 3: 65x45 cm; No2: 140x180 cm, 2011

The inspiration for "Depth of a Thousand Kisses" comes from an old song, but the motif is actually the jellyfish. As Song Kun sees it, the transparency, lightness and powerful defense abilities of the jellyfish are quite in accord with her own existential awareness as a woman. By the time she began the Depth of a Thousand Kisses, Song Kun had experienced many changes in life and society, and was now a mother. In this series, Song Kun explores questions of the soul and the flesh, the spirit and desire. Both these aspects touch on the artist’s everyday life: beggars in the street, makeup before a social event, tenderness in the bedroom, even certain truly painful things in everyday life. Though the artist is astonished by the “depth of a thousand kisses” that stretches between the inner spirit and everyday desire, there is no moral criticism here. To the contrary, she tries to accept them both at the same time, as if with each stroke of the brush she is attempting to mend the fissures in this world, bringing everything together within a picture that she can grasp. This sober and tender maternal state is connected to the artist’s life experiences. Perhaps she is drawn to the jellyfish motif because of that transparent state of spirit and flesh, a state that she seems to be seeking herself.
Photos and text Song Kun's Website

Maybe it helps to see this period with her eyes, the song being played by a blind musician . - Don't miss the one-second cry of the baby at the very end of her video.....
Song Kun, “One Thousand Kisses Deep”, The video 2012, 6 min – Loads slowly! (including Chinese ads!!)

Her latest photographic work can be admired on a second website:
“Escape Velocity”, 2013, 5 series of photographs

“Greedy London Octopus Woman”, 2013, oil on canvas,
Meanwhile she has had a number of solo exhibitions in the West and no doubt got “rich”....