Qu Lei Lei (b.1951) is an innovative and influential Chinese contemporary artist. He started his career as a founding member of the famous avant-garde 'Stars Group' in China, whose development between 1979 and 1980 is an important symbol of the launch of Chinese contemporary art.
During his 'Stars Period', Qu Lei Lei produced works including 'Pen and Ink Line Drawings' and 'Who am I, Where am I from, and Where am I Going to?' to express his inner beliefs and personal emotions concerning the fate of the whole Chinese nation.
He left China for England to study Western art in 1985. In approximately five-year stages, he produced various projects, including 'The Sun in my Dream - the First Half of My Life' series (1990-1995), 'Here and Now - To Face a New Century' series (1996-2000), and 'Everyone's Life is an Epic' series (2000-2005). Between 2005 and 2010 he completed his aesthetic 'Brush Ink Light Shadow' series to see how far he could go with Chinese brush and ink to emulate the achievements of the European Renaissance masters. In the new decade, he started three new series, which are 'Miners', 'Mothers', and 'Thousands of Years of Empire', in an ongoing exploration of history, culture and humanity.
Though Qu Lei Lei's paintings are rooted in the Chinese tradition, his work has a Western quality combining light and shadow. His paintings display the tactile values of Western art whilst still clearly maintaining the Chinese spirit, ultimately combining the best of both East and West. He shows how the Chinese medium of brush and ink, which is traditionally a linear art, can, through skillful and extremely subtle gradations of light and shade, produce those tactile values of Western art. This is what makes his paintings interestingly different from traditional Chinese paintings.
His works have been included in the private collections of many eminent collectors including His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, and Professor Michael Sullivan, one of the most important scholars of modern Chinese art history. Moreover, his works can also be found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, the National Art Museum of China and Barclays Bank.
Since 1979, his art has been shown in many significant exhibitions in China and around the world. Among these he has also had solo shows at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 2005 and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing in 2011.
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