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The Confucius Code: An Exhibition of Paintings by Jing Kewen

20 Nov – 4 Dec 2008
Anna Ning Fine Art
at Hong Kong Arts Centre

Nostalgia for the innocence of former China

Chinese artist Jing Kewen (born 1965, now living in Beijing) was the first time presented in an exhibition in Hong Kong, organised by Anna Ning Fine Art.

The paintings (from 1990 and 2008) are about history and memory; they are like prisms in the artists works.

"They do not give us a panoramic view of the real world. Rather, they allow the richness and polymorphism of experiences in the past to be reflected when viewed from different angles. Memory does not become art until it is translated into a proper artistic language. This process, however, requires considerable effort on the part of the artist. His personal effort is in fact one of reconstructing cultural memory," Anna Ning Fine Art.

Jing Kewen, who grew up during the Cultural Revolution, seems to portray a softer, gentler side of humanity and China. The retro look of the paintings come from Jing's artistic vocabulary. He uses old photographs, magazine illustrations and private photograph albums that he has found or exchanged at flea markets to represent cultural memories of the glories and dreams of "Red China".

The figurative paintings show simple, plain buildings, breezy and sunny weather, beautiful sunshine on grass, magnolia blossoms swaying in the wind, young men and women with glamorous faces, beams of sunlight highlighting their figures and clothes.

“The best time” may only exist in “their” time, and the stories might only be sensational and soul-stirring in the past. Even cruel and painful moments would be “blossoming ones” when looked back at over a long period of time.

"Jing’s paintings are not just representations of social change since the old days, but also visualizations of the vicissitudes of life. The artist’s concern with the lives of individuals against the background of reality may evoke in the viewer a sense of nostalgia, melancholy and even expectation," Anna Ning Fine Art


fig.: "Be Together" No. 6, Jing Kewen, 2004. 200 x 150 cm.

About Jing Kewen

In 1981 Jing Kewen began studying Oil Painting at China Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts and graduated in 1986. Since 1987 Jing Kewen's work is exhibited in galleries and museums around the world: Netherlands, Austria, China, Korea, Germany, Japan, ...

About Anna Ning Fine Art

The private gallery and art consultancy Anna Ning Fine Art was founded in 2005 in Hong Kong. Owner Anna Ning's main interest is contemporary art by established and emerging Chinese artists



Sawetz (C) 2008