"The question of reforming traditional ink painting has been raised since the time of the Republic of China in the last century. This is an old problem that hasn't been completely resolved. It can be said that in the past hundred years, the art field has never stopped trying to integrate the thousand-year tradition of ink and wash with current aesthetics."
- Chen Yingjie
Nature is the overarching theme in all of Chen Yingjie’s œuvre. His paintings, with all their fiery abstract look, are a tribute to natural forces. They can be read as imaginary landscapes where the mind is free to wander, taken in by the vivid hues and the strong sense of motion that transpires from the works.
Taking a contemporary approach to the work of Chinese Old Masters, Chen Yingjie uses a variety of unconventional techniques while keeping with the spirit, the strength and vitality of ink painting and calligraphy. His style shows a great balance between dynamism and contemplation, influenced by age-old concepts that lie at the heart of Chinese art practices and philosophy: the Yin and Yang, as well as the idea of a cosmic flow permeating all things. “You may feel,” he says, “that dynamic and invisible qi flowing around my works.”
With a great number of mural projects to his credit in China and around the world, Chen can be regarded as a street artist in the full sense of the term. Spray cans are among his favorite tools, particularly to create the fuzzy and colorful backgrounds of his paintings. This fusion of street art and traditional landscape themes makes the work of Chen Yingjie an unidentified artistic object, taking the best of two worlds while being in itself unlike anything else. “I would like to break away from cultural constraints,” he says, “and create my own artistic language.”
A painter, Chen is also something of a performer. His way of working is greatly gestural. Inspired by traditional ink painting, he physically engages with the canvas, with dynamic moves and splashing techniques. American art critic Harold Rosenberg, who coined the term “action painting”, famously argued that the American abstract painters of his time, the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, were using the canvas as “an arena in which to act.” This applies very fittingly to the work of Chen Yingjie. “Creating is like fighting, you’ll never know your opponent’s next punch, and the most important thing is to observe the current paces and adapt to circumstances.”
Chen Yingjie was born in Foshan, Guangdong province, China, in 1991. He studied at Raffles Design Institute in Singapore. His work has been presented in major institutions in China and around the world, among which Tank and Power Station of Art in Shanghai, CAFA Art Museum in Beijing, or the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.
He has collaborated with many international brands like Cartier, Volkswagen, Louis Vuitton, Adidas or Volvo. In 2020, he was named by Forbes one of China’s “30 Under 30”. His work is present in many world-class private and public collections, including Honolulu Museum of Art, BMW China Automotive or CapitaLand Group. He currently lives in Foshan.