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Born in 1988 in China, Gong Chenyu originally studied sculpture, and many of his paintings have a sculptural quality.
Painting all in natural grey and brown tones, Gong Chenyu enters a fantastic space of fantasy. In his art there is a tension between depicted animals, daily objects, people, all resulting in a certain theater-style rehearsal moments, seemingly absurd, yet intense and real. This inherent contradiction points to a rich array of details, making Gong Chenyu's paintings filled with different reading layers and calling in for our imagination.
At first glance, Gong Chenyu's narrative logic is complex. For example his series Display'Animal Taming (2015) is a diorama of painted circus animals and skulls presented in an old living-room display cabinet. The domestic overtones are deliberate: the work is a comment on the way human beings, in using animals for their own pleasure, weaken or suppress their wildness. In this first important series, Gong Chenyu played with dinosaur figurines. These dinosaurs are as lively as they can be and at the same time remind us of natural history museums displays. Then in more recent series he moved on to life size scenes where everything is about building up a complex environment where different elements mix. Since then Gong Chenyu has developed an extensive practice of oil painting. Painting both very large and small canvases, he depicts intricate scenes and paint with numerous layers.
For Gong Chenyu it is the act of painting that matters. The way he uses his paint reminds us he is a sculptor at first. All in his art is about conveying emotions and imagine stories. As the artist shares: 'Brush painting has a power I deeply cherish. I hope that the viewer can feel it and can also see how intuitive can painting be. People usually think of it in terms of accuracy, the so-called precision of painting' to me it is important to pull away from it, and convey things differently.'
Gong Chenyu currently lives and works in Hangzhou.