Qiu Jie’s drawings bring traditional Chinese art and European realism into sharp contrast, the juxtaposition of contemporary Western pop culture images, Chinese symbolism, eroticism and mysticism a play on cultural differences that is at once humorous, absurd and subversive. His ever present cat, a pun on Mao – which means ‘cat’ in Chinese as well as having a similar phonetic sound as ‘meow – an example of how he is forever looking to disrupt and create a new vocabulary that has different meanings in two very different cultures.
Jie’s images are often taken from Communist images created during the Cultural revolution while his pop culture references could be seen to be capitalistic propaganda and our desire of consumer goods and materialist perfection. These painstakingly detailed pencil drawings with their layered multitudes of text and pop culture images are often massive in scale and take months to complete.
Qiu Jie is a pseudonym meaning ‘the man who comes from other mountains’, adopted to express his experience as a Chinese citizen living in Switzerland, a man whose own myth and journey through different cultures is visually imposed on his compositions, the impressionistic, meditative scenes from his daily life precisely detailed within a context of a global clash between Chinese and Western geo-politics, history and popular culture.
Photos 2 and 4 are courtesy of The Art Plural Gallery, Singapore