Ren Jianhui

Born in: 1956, ChenDu China

Lives in: Singapore

Media: Painting, Mixed media, Drawing

Describe your work in 3 words: Semi-realistic, Pure, Unsystematic

See More Work:

Lovers 1 - Oil 167 x 198 cm

"I believe in the power of visual images to convey aspects of the contemporary world, and universal themes such as those of life, existence, and death. My "Time Traveller" series highlights how one can appreciate human nature and everyday life. Art is not merely about technique and style, but these are secondary elements serving the bigger function of art in sensitizing us to the human experience."

What themes does your work involve?

Life, death and human existence.
The spiritual world.
The mimicking of reality with realism.

Describe your creative process.
After exploring different styles and various media for more than two decades, I finally settled with oil painting. My emotions can be better expressed with a wider selection of colours and brushstrokes. Through semi-realism, I can show new-found energy in modern oil painting, which includes the combination of modernity and primitivism. With unique methods of processing the paint, I'm exploring the optimum way to treat background and foreground separately on canvas, while producing a perfectly complementary effect. I draw ideas from everyday life and nature. The desire to free ourselves from the complexity and rapidly changing nature of society – to find our inner peace, achieve spiritual independence and feel our own existence. I also work in series.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I’m inspired by the complexity and perishability of life; by the ever-changing yet eternal nature of its many aspects, including the relationship between man and nature, inter-personal relations and the meaning of life and death. The “simulation” that I seek to embody in my semi-realistic art, as well as my exploration of the interaction between modernism and primitivism, highlight the constant development and evolution of individuals and societies in response to external changes and reveal many truths about human existence.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art should encompass unique style, creativity and good technique.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist today is not only to deliver good technique but also to have his/her works enlighten the viewer in seeing things that are not actually seen, beyond the primary stage of ‘seeing things as they are’. This involves a higher level of understanding and enlightenment that transcends reality.

This page was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist