Beijing-based artist Ye Hongxing claims that Fusion is her reaction to the “swift change of China’s social system”. As a reflection to this rapid change and how the Chinese culture has been influenced by the West over the recent years, Hongxing has created a series of artworks, titled “East of Eden”, that juxtapose traditional Chinese imagery such as Buddhist symbols and tigers with contemporary objects including cars, Hello Kitty, Angry Birds and smiley faces.
“The rapid changes that are happening in China have a very profound impact on me, sometimes exciting, and sometimes contradictory and confusing at the same time. Bright in color and mesmerizing in the complex compositions that juxtapose traditional Chinese imagery with the joyously psychedelic.”
Hongxing uses stickers collected during her childhood to create large-scale collages on canvas. The highly detailed compositions depict fictional landscapes, nature, architecture, modern machinery such as helicopters and guns, fantastical figures and religious imagery, Hongxing juxtaposes these elements to create explosions of colour. The dense layer of stickers allow the colours and textures to reverberate around the canvas, and new elements are found each time the viewer looks at the work. The effect on the eye is of information overload, reminiscent of our digital age.
“Using stickers is a conscious challenge to traditional and conventional mediums,” explains Hongxing. “A sticker has an enormous amount of information in it, they reflect the time we’re living in and they are fragmented and mosaic, so I can give them a new order in the landscape I’m creating.”
In previous works Hongxing has depicted the symbol of the Mandala – Sanskrit for ‘circle’, this ancient symbol of concentric diagrams was traditionally used as a visual tool for spiritual teaching, a focus for meditation and devotion. Hongxing renders these religious symbols with her unique, labour-intensive application of colourful stickers, which highlights the disconcerting fusion between the modern material and the sacred ideology it depicts.
Sara Raza, Curator and Asian art historian states that Hongxing’s work presents “a critique into the symptoms of globalisation, where industrial, societal and economic advancements and changes in attitude are moving at such a rapid pace that they are in fact eclipsing culture.”
As the rapid pace of change in modern China shapes a new generation of thought and expression, her position as a young artist is very important. She is part of an exciting movement that will undoubtedly mark the history of art.
Images via Art Lexing