Six questions for
He Xiangyu

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: He Xiangyu.

Artist He Xiangyu
Lives in Berlin

How do you describe your own art practice?

My practice is rooted in my own experience in both Eastern and Western cultures. I like experimenting with different media, including and not limited to painting, sculpture, installation, and video. Usually from a rather intimate perspective and through a personal approach, I try to reveal the fatalistic micro conflicts on specific individuals in a time of macro geopolitical and historical turbulence.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

I would say that the concept of “body” is central and essential in my practice. Body is simultaneously the “shell” and the boundary of our memory, which in many cases is collectively repressed or reconstructed during the evolution of civilizations. In this sense, the body becomes the coffer where each individual hides his or her history. The mystery and the complexity of this issue fascinate me.

What was your first experience with art?

I can barely remember, probably when I painted on the wall of my grandmother’s house when I was seven years old. According to my mother, I apparently painted with a great passion and really enjoyed it.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere in my daily life, whether it’s from watching a movie, observing a painting, or learning languages, and I am particularly interested in Chinese calligraphy. Although I have a smartphone, when I need to write something in Chinese, I still insist on using handwriting input, similar to the micro-practice of drawing, instead of typing in pinyin (Romanized Chinese characters based on linguistic pronunciation). This is my way of communicating with part of the outside world, and I find that the pictographic writing of Chinese characters (Hanzi) and the profound imagery integrated with them nourish my creative life. Living and working far from my hometown, I need this form of writing to return to my own culture and reality.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Deep relax and meditation.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

The exhibition of Donatello’s sculptures at Gemäldegalerie Berlin in September 2022.

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