Hua Gallery
Menu Call us: +44 7587 1963 60 Contact
← back to artists

Chang Lei 常磊

Xiang Yu by Chang Lei 常磊 Monkey King by Chang Lei 常磊 Guan Yunchang by Chang Lei 常磊 Terracotta Warriors by Chang Lei 常磊 Deng Xiaoping by Chang Lei 常磊 Black Cloth No2 by Chang Lei 常磊

Chang Lei 常磊

Chang Lei's series of oil paintings, Shadows of Chinese Civilization, depicts traditional Chinese cultural figures, objects and sites, infused with splashes of bright and dark colours. Among the images painted by Chang are the Great Wall, ancient Chinese ceramics, Terracotta Warriors, Chinese opera figures and deities, and famous historical characters.

The figures emerge from a splatter of darkness and float in an ethereal way within the canvas. The monochrome brushstrokes recall traditional Chinese ink painting although they also reveal a modern abstract touch. While the splashes of black paint are misty and convey a dramatic sense of uncertainty, the figures appearing from obscurity are sophisticated and meticulously depicted. The images are then subtly bespattered with red, alluding to the more sinister undertones of the artist's intent.

Through stark contrasts between sombre background tones and glowing highlights of the subjects Chang Lei's paintings delve into the history of China. The artist is attempting to analyse its cultural richness from a critical and thorough perspective. Hence his paintings evoke both positive and negative sides that have marked the course of the centuries, thus aiming to achieve 'the truth'. In this sense Chang is searching for the beauty of truth and his female figures are not only charming icons of the Beijing opera but they also seem to allegorise the romantic ideal of “beauty is truth and truth is beauty”[1].

In light of this although Chang's paintings are gracefully rendered they also reveal dark sides of mankind, suggesting what is hidden behind the glorious surface of culture. And yet, these cultural creations and figures remain before our eyes. Charming and breathtaking they disclose a tainted beauty, revealing Chang's ability of accomplishing the artist's mission once appointed by Dante: to explore both hell and paradise at the same time.[2]

[1] John Keats (1795 – 1821) in Ode on a Grecian Urn, first published in 1819

[2] Cheng François, Cinq Méditations sur la Beauté, Editions Albin Michel, Paris, 2006

Browse artists

Art Toys
Beili Liu 刘北立
Chang Lei 常磊
Chen Che 陈澈
Chen Hongzhu 陈虹竹
Feng Zhengjie 俸正杰
Gao Brothers 高氏兄弟
Gordon Cheung
Han Bing 韓冰
Han Zhongren 韩中人
Kuan Ching Mediha Ting
Le Guo 郭洛
Lu Xinjian 陆新建
Pan Jian 潘剑
Qiu Jie 邱节
Qu Leilei 曲磊磊
Sang Huo Yao 桑火堯
Sheng Qi 盛奇
Sun Lei 孙磊
Various Artists
Wang Ai 王艾
Wen Wu
Xuhong Shang 商徐宏
Xu Yong 徐勇
Yang Guang 杨光
Yi Xuan 伊玄
Zhang Chun Hong 张春红
Zhang Zhaohui 张朝晖
Zhan Wang & MVRDV
Zheng Haozhong 郑皓中
Zhou Chunya & Jaime Hayon
Zhuang Hong Yi 庄红艺