Studio Visit: Chen Ke, Beijing

1. You are back working in the studio after a break. Can you tell us what work or series you are working on now?

Yes, I had a break after my solo exhibition last year. During this time I read some books especially about traditional Chinese painting. Now I continue painting and I try to include my new understanding about painting. And it will be separate work and not series. At the same time I am writing a book about my experience on the way of learning art, which I plan to publish this year in China.

2. Who or what do you consider your biggest inspiration (artist, writer/ book, music etc.)

My biggest inspiration is by myself. I feel all the information you get must truly be observed by yourself and then gotten from yourself.

3. Your technique has evolved a lot since we first came across your work. It seems much more textured and complex now. Can you tell us a bit more about your technique and why you work not just in oil on canvas but with more materials in your paintings.

This is also a subject I am thinking about recently. I also find the change of my work’s material, which is more textured and complex. The reason I do some change on the material then is I did not want to go the common way and involved in some existing style. I want to make some fresh things. After a long time of making all kinds of research on it, now I am beginning to go beyond it. The technique and material is not a “problem” to me, what I try to do now is freely using them or “abandon” them. Put more point at the immanence of one work. it is a little similar with life’s circle, at the beginning of life, your are simple, and then become more and more complex, and later if you lucky you can go back to the simple. But the simple is different from the beginning. If I can get back the status of simple painting, I guess is also different from the beginning. The middle period of complex is also very important.

4. We have always liked your installation work. Can you tell us more about what motivates you to work on a cupboard, a toilet or other object?

In 2007 I tried to make something to go beyond the border of painting, which is normal on the two-dimension surface. I find the modeling paste can tight on the surface of object and then I can paint on the modeling paste. First I just make it on the canvas, one day I occasionally try it on a spoon, and the outcome is amazing. There is an interesting relationship between the true object and paint. So I began a series of it. Toilet is a special object, which is normally concern with dirty and not clean, but it is really concerned with my body, so we need it at the same time we try to hide it. This is why I pick it out and paint a pure girl inside it.

5. Can you tell us your plans for the next year.

Now I try to finish the book I’m writing which has to be finished before March. And put my thoughts on recent work. Hope it will bring some change in my work.

See more of Chen Ke’s work.

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