谢 南 星
Painter, *1970 Chongqing, Sichuan, studios in Chengdu and Beijing
Xie Nanxing (fourth from left) with
All images from Urs Meile Galleries, Beijing/Lucern
Outside the meager date of Xie's birthyear and place there exist only a few paintings by him describing a disturbed childhood. Already then he employes Gerhard Richter's technique of using soft-brushing to unsharpen reality. In most of his work he searches for new means to blur his paintings. This makes “reading” his work - which is moreover mostly untitled – difficult. I will make use of the texts on the Urs Meile Website that are based on interviews and personal contact with the artist. Xie Nanxing became widely know in the West through his exhibits at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999 and at Documenta 12 in 2007.
A distorted room, an embarassing family situation and a gas flame are related to Xie's childhood memories.
Triptych “Picture of a Voice”, 2001, 220x130 cm each
Xie Nanxing meticulously
investigates the surface of the canvas, the light that is generated
by the paint that he uses, and the material itself that disappears
(only to reappear again) beneath the thin layers that serve to create
what he is depicting. We become witnesses to a never-ending
disappearing and reappearing act by virtue of the pictorial process
that he employs.
Peter Pakesh 2008
In contrast to Qiu Shihua's quiet Taoist meditations, Xie Nanxing's paintings are huge restless, explosive canvasses that are intended to disturb the viewer.
In the following years Xie disbands with a paint brush. Like Gerhard Richter uses a squeegee, Xie paints with a mop around his brush, producing canvasses that evoke intense but undefined impressions if seen from a distance, and complete nonesense up close. Yet the viewer is left with the tantalizing feeling that they are having a representational substructure that the artist is hiding.
“The First Round with
a Whip (Brush)”
“The Wave” series, 2004-2009
“The Second Round
with a Whip”
Canvas Prints series, 2011-2013
Unlike Richter Xie likes to paint in thin, transparent layers, so his previous images show through. Searching for a method to overcome this without giving up his thin paints, he reverses the usual procedure and paints on a a second overlaid canvas and lets the paint leak through. The effect is a stipled image of dots and blotches on the first canvas, which are even more “spotty” - Xie's intention – than in his “First Round”.
If these brief technical explanations appear contrieved, you should read the more detailed analysis by David Spalding (2012).