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© Qiu Shihua, Beijing

At first glance, the paintings of Chinese artist Qiu Shihua seem to be monochrome, completely white canvases. Yet upon closer inspection, vast landscapes emerge from the painted surface which, depending on where the viewer is standing, either reveal an increasing number of details or slip away again before his eyes. Only through long, intense examination is it possible gain a full perception of Qiu Shihua’s complex white paintings.
With this mode of representation, the artist categorically questions the moment of visibility in painting. Qiu Shihua’s white landscapes oscillate between the Western idea of abstraction and reduction on the one side, and the far Eastern Taoist concepts of repetition and emptiness on the other.
Qiu Shihua was born in 1940 in Zizhong in the Chinese province of Sichuan. He studied painting at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, training first and foremost in traditional Chinese painting techniques. Since the 1990s Qiu has been exhibiting in the West: his work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and in 2013 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, one year after the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin presented a retrospective of his work to date. Qiu Shihua lives in Beijing and Shenzhen.

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