Qu Lei Lei In Conversation at Asia House

By on February 3, 2019

Join us for a panel discussion and fascinating insight into leading contemporary ink painter, Qu Lei Lei’s life journey from China to London. The artist will be in conversation with British Museum Basil Gray curator, Dr Luk Yu-ping, and Sotheby’s Institute, Dr Katie Hill. Moderated by Pamela Kember, Head of Arts and Learning at Asia House.

“From form, sound, soul, human nature to time, Art itself is the echo of life.”
– Qu Lei Lei

Qu Lei Lei is renowned for reinventing the application of traditional Chinese medium- brush, ink and xuan paper to draw portraits of faces, hands and bodies. In his work, the application of light and shadow is very different from other traditional works. Qu Lei Lei, a “master of chiaroscuro ink,” an effect of contrasted light and shadow, has chosen a harder path to echo Western painting and Chinese ink art on a technical level. His works of brush, ink, light and shadow depict full-size nude figures in a return to a pure pursuit of art; classicism mixed with a modern spirit where his pursuit of light is reminiscent of European Renaissance paintings laid down in Chinese ink on scrolled xuan paper; an evolvement of the language of Chinese ink painting for a modern world.

“I hope to use my own forms to create a quality akin to sculpture,” states Qu Lei Lei to explain his “perception of beauty” as he creates hauntingly beautiful marble-like forms with the softness of flowers, plants and vine patterns. Creating contrasts between structure and texture yet touching a harmony between circle and line, motion and stillness. The late Chinese scholar Michael Sullivan has called Qu Lei Lei’s skilful interpretation of the integration between Western realism and Eastern conceptual imagery a “new literati painting” that best approximates the Chinese literati ideal.

This event is presented in collaboration with 3812 Gallery, and in association with Qu Leilei’s latest solo exhibition taking place at the 3812 Gallery’s London and Hong Kong venues.


About Qu Lei Lei:
The son of Qu Bo, a renowned and highly regarded composer, Qu Lei Lei was born in 1951 in Hei Long Jiang province China. He lives and works in London.

He was a founding member of the Stars Group, the first-ever contemporary art movement to appear in China creating a new challenging artistic language. Regarded as one of China’s leading contemporary artists, in recent years, he has created four major projects in form of a combination of paintings and installations: The First Half of My Life, Here and Now – to Face a New Century, Everyone’s Life is An Epic and Brush, Ink, Light, Shadow. These have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues including The British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, The National Art Museum of China, the Venice Biennale, and the Beijing Biennale. His works – “Lei Feng” of “Empires Series” and “Journey” of “Facing the Future” Series are collected by The British Museum in 2015.

About Dr Luk Yu-Ping:
Dr Luk Yu-ping is the Basil Gray Curator: Chinese Painting, Prints and Central Asia at the British Museum. Previously, Yu-ping was a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, focusing on Chinese ceramics and jewellery. She was also Project Curator for the British Museum’s exhibition Ming: 50 years that changed China and Assistant Professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She completed her DPhil in the History of Art at the University of Oxford. Her thesis was a detailed study of a monumental Daoist scroll related to an empress from late 15th-century China.She is now focusing her attention on researching and developing the Chinese painting, prints and Central Asian collections at the British Museum.

About Dr Katie Hill:
Dr Katie Hill is Program Director, MA Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, at Sotheby’s Institute, London. Dr Hill is a regularly invited speaker for exhibitions and events in numerous institutions and galleries. Her recent work includes In Conversation’ with Ai Weiwei, Tate Modern, selector panel/author, Art of Change, New Directions from China, Hayward Gallery, London, and specialist advisor/author for The Chinese Art Book (Phaidon 2013). She also co-edited a special issue of the journal Visual Art Practice on Contemporary Chinese Art and Criticality, published in 2012. She is director of OCCA, Office of Contemporary Chinese Art, an art consultancy promoting Chinese artists in the UK.


Qu Lei Lei In Conversation will be held at Asia House Thursday 7th February 2019.

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