Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

Beautiful scars streak toward the ethereal

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

16:49, July 04, 2013

He Duoling is hailed as an icon of "scar painting", or "painting the wounded" - an art phenomenon that appeared in the later period of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). It was a shift from portraying heroes to depicting ordinary people's fates.

People were amazed that Spring Winds Have Awoken - He's quiet painting of a girl, ox and dog on the grassland - could deliver such a strong message about how the reform and opening-up policy was awakening Chinese society.

He says people read too much into his paintings. It was a beautiful misunderstanding, he explains.

He wasn't thinking about such a grand theme when he created the painting. He was simply recalling the loneliness and freedom of his days on the grasslands of Sichuan province's Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, where he labored for three years during the "cultural revolution".

American Andrew Wyeth's paintings inspired him to vividly reproduce the prairie.

"I've expressed my personal feelings through my paintings throughout my 30-year career, without any link to social issues except for my works lamenting the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake," He says.

"I'm from Sichuan, and the quake was such a shock to me that I had to create something."

He doesn't aspire to change the world with his paintings and doesn't believe they possess the power to do so.

"The more personal art is, the better it represents the artist," he says.

"Artists can't create great works if they don't follow their hearts."

Poet, curator and He's friend of 35 years Ouyang Jianghe describes He as "a man who refuses to be labeled or categorized under any school of art".

"He's a lone wolf," Ouyang says.

"He only follows his heart."

Poetry is He's hobby and an inspiration for his paintings. His poet ex-wife Zhai Yongming exposed him to modern Western poems in the 1980s.

He's paintings are becoming increasingly ethereal. The light strokes and hazy colors give them a poetic feel.

He gave up the meticulous close-up detail-creation techniques he learned from Wyeth and is working on oil painting with Chinese ink techniques, such as creating lone-standing images, blurring backgrounds and leaving blank spaces.

National Art Museum of China director Fan Di'an says He's wisdom lies in his realization that while Western art offers sustenance, it can't be the only staple.

"It must be complemented by indigenous cultural and artistic traditions," Fan says.

Fan wrote for He's 2011 solo exhibition in Beijing: "Like Western art in the early 20th century, Chinese art was undergoing the 'shock of the West' at the end of the century. Chinese artists' assimilation is not without its price. By adopting Western styles wholesale, they have lost touch with their artistic traditions."

We recommend:

Xiapu: China's most beautiful mudflat

Homepage of websites of Chinese universities

Top Gaokao scorers in 2013

Amazing sceneries in China

Top 10 World Heritage in China

Look!Angry birds in the real life!

Cos girls shining at Kafu Comic-Con

Miss Tourism International in Nanjing

Camacho's embarrassing records in China

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:DuMingming、Ye Xin)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. China's main warships to take part in drills

  2. Chinese fleet conducts formation exercise

  3. Egypt army topples president

  4. Zoo animals searches coolness in summer

  5. Man swims in flood to deliver food for wife

  6. Audition for dating with rich

  7. Beauties under summer sun on Beijing

  8. Yuan Shanshan in black and white photos

  9. New head to steer COSCO

  10. Diagnose crisis of China's solar sector

Most Popular


  1. CIC needs to recruit global talent: analysts
  2. China to strengthen ties with Uganda
  3. Hot weather brings wave of health problems
  4. Wealthy individuals 'see education as asset'
  5. Unite to prevent violence against women
  6. Dogs are the responsibility of their owners
  7. Pakistani PM's China trip to boost economic co-op
  8. Chinese company looks to take a bite out of Apple
  9. PwC: HK IPOs expected to boom this year
  10. Abe's 'values diplomacy' goes against the grain

What’s happening in China

Man swims in flood to deliver food for pregnant wife

  1. Sex video official appeals in Chongqing
  2. Ministry: KMT veterans will be cared for
  3. Air China to test in-flight Wi-Fi
  4. China boosts handling of nuke emergencies
  5. 32 endangered birds released into the wild