Shuai Xu


About the artist:

My current works focus on the invisible world, and much of my inspiration comes from my dreams. I am interested in humanity’s relationship to the cosmos, particularly as it plays out here on Earth, in the relationship between individuals and nature. I hope to explore my interior world more deeply while expanding outward, to engage society and beyond.

 I am drawn to dreams because every one of us is familiar with them. In dreams, we can experience a new world through the virtual displacement of time and space. It is from this virtual world that I draw the artistic inspiration I need. The same is true of the night sky. I have had fantasies about the night sky since childhood, and it has also become a source of inspiration. Both my works and I are searching for a state of unity between individuals and nature, and we care about everything in the world, just like the philosophy expressed by the phrase "one flower, one world, one leaf and one Bodhi"

In the real life, I strive to imbue my works with a poetic atmosphere. Modern minimalism's purity of material and earth art's admiration for man and nature reminds me of the minimalist part of Song Dynasty aesthetics and Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetics, both influenced by Zen culture and Buddhist culture. This kind of poetry also exists in my pursuit of the sense of ritual and mystery. The unique sense of ritual in ancient Roman and medieval art, as well as the mystery of immersive art installations in contemporary art, are of great significance to me. 

My current works are built on my understanding of these historical works and my dreams, both of which have passed and both of which I explore while awake, assessing and analyzing them rationally and consciously. The dream world is an invisible world, but we cannot deny its existence. I proceed by “plagiarizing” scenes from my dreams, incorporating them into my work and giving them three-dimensional form in physical reality. However, this does not mean that every one of my paintings comes directly from my dreams. I will record the content of my dreams, and get inspired by my dreams, and connect with the real world through the dreams. When I finished my work, the work may be different from my original dream scene, and I added my thinking in the real world to the work. But it is undeniable that the initial motivation that prompted me to create these works came from my dreams. So I think dreams are very important to me. 

Sometimes, my paintings lead me to create land art. Because painting can create unlimited imagination in a limited space, I can freely conceive the land art scene in my mind through painting. Painting is like a draft of land art to me. My land art uses the land as a canvas to form a visually vast landscape, so as to explore the relationship between human beings and nature, and even between human beings and the universe. Whether it is dreams or cosmic space, we can call it the invisible world. This invisible world is often overlooked by society at large but it is the focus of my work.

I hope that my works will move viewers away from the human society of cynicism and contempt, and turn to a "society" characterized by contemplation and reflection. In this "society", it is not only about human nature and social issues, but more importantly, the relationship between human beings and nature, the universe, and the meaning of our existence in the universe—in short to an exploration of the self.