Ye Hongxing: East of Eden

A colourful collision of western and Chinese culture at Scream gallery

Chinese artist Ye Hongxing’s large-scale canvases dazzle the viewer with their dizzyingly busy compositions and joyously psychedelic palette. They teem with pop-culture motifs – such as Hello Kitty and smiley faces – alongside ancient imagery, chiefly statues of Buddha.

Beijing-based Hongxing is hugely inspired by the tumultuous changes happening in China today, and she herself is fast becoming one of its most successful emerging artists. She exhibited last year at Christian Louboutin’s Miami store during the Art Basel Miami Beach fair. Now, she has new work on show at a solo exhibition called East of Eden at London gallery Scream, which champions brilliantly colourful art that experiments with materials.


Hongxing is a good example of the latter. She depicts pop motifs cleverly, using throwaway media. Her new pieces resemble painted, illusionistic canvases from afar, but are in fact composed of layers of minute stickers. “Hongxing’s use of this unusual material makes her labour-intensive work – which takes months to produce – unique, and causes it to stand out from that of her contemporaries,” says the show’s curator, Melissa Digby-Bell.

Pieces at Scream include East of Eden No 4 (second picture, £16,800), whose jungle-like panorama features parrots with goldfish; Another Space No 5 (first picture, £12,000), in which kittens cavort with carnations; and Dream World No 16 (third picture, £14,400) – a chaotic jumble of fighter planes, hummingbirds and heavily made-up women’s faces.


Hongxing’s work is as thoughtful as it is decorative, as her own words reveal: “China’s unique 5,000-year-old civilisation makes its collision with western culture today more intense.” Multilayered, it intriguingly reveals a seemingly infinite number of images. As Digby-Bell says, “You see something new every time you look at a piece.”

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