Two artists, two distinctive visions

An unusual exhibition pairs two artists with different styles – and strikes the perfect balance.

Qi Xin's canvas work "Van Gogh's Sun Flower 5"

“New Duo Exhibition: He Zhenhao & Qi Xin” opens at the Original Song Gallery on Saturday. The unusual exhibition features nearly 40 canvases and watercolors created by the two young artists.

A duo exhibition is a challenge for both the artists and the curator, because the relationship between the different artworks or the hidden competition of the two is not easy to balance.

However, this exhibition strikes the perfect balance.

He and Qi tried contemporary realism, but they both wanted to explore something more profound  than merely depicting the “surface of the reality.”

For Qi, art is a bridge to connect illusion and reality.

Born in 1982 in Jining, Shandong Province, Qi is a post-graduate from the oil painting department at the Shandong Academy of Fine Arts.

In 2011, the young artist began traveling in Europe, visiting museums in Italy, the UK, France and the Netherlands to study the masterpieces.

In this exhibition, Qi pays respect to these great works.

His “Sunflowers” echoes Vincent van Gogh’s work of the same name, but Qi has deconstructed the original structure and color in an original way. All the shapes from van Gogh’s original canvas are now folded silk.

“I like to fold paper and wires into different shapes for the children — they treat them like toys and play happily,” Qi says. “Then I painted them on canvas for fun and later I thought why not fold those masterpieces.”

The silk under his brush appears as if it were captured by a camera.

“I know these masterpieces are incomparable,” he says, “but I find my unique way to communicate with them.”

A graduate from the oil painting department of the China Academy of Fine Arts, He was tutored by Xu Mangyao, a famous oil painter at the Shanghai Normal University.

His solid classical realism helps him carve out the things ignored by many, yet precious in his eyes — such as a falling leaf or a withered wood branch.

“In my eyes, even a withered leaf has its own beauty,” he explains. “But on closer inspection, one may find the enriched texture, the harmonious colors plus beautiful curves on them. They are part of nature and its beauty and detail. I paint them with respect and humility.”

He says he sees the often ignored or abandoned things around him. “Because that’s the hidden reality,” he says.

“And that’s also the reality of my inner self. Realistic painting always gives me a desire to approach such reality, which might include an unlimited possibility in expression.”

Exhibition details

Date: December 23-February 28, 10am-6pm

Venue: Original Song Gallery

Address: 4/F, Bldg 3, 731 Hongxu Rd


He Zhenhao's watercolor "Those Tiny Things"

Qi Xin's watercolor "Windermere"

He Zhenhao's canvas work "Boat"

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