The alienation of the Albino

You Si
Keywords: FlowersChinese Ink rice paperChinese paintingInk washesContemporary Chinese InkGestural AbstractionAutomatismAbstract Expressionism

Work Overview

YouSi was born to a family of artists in Beijing China in 1954. Now working in Shanghai. He graduated from the Shanghai Theater Academy in stage design in 1982. 

Between 1982 and 1987 when the nation was beginning to open up and prosper, You Si became a rising star in Beijing’s art circle as he participated in a numerous avant-garde, experimental art exhibitions. During that period, You Si created a modern type of ink-and-wash painting. By incorporating western aesthetics,especially American abstract expressionism, into the Chinese ink-and-wash tradition, he aimed to transform a fixed cultural formula into something new and modern. 

In 1987, You Si was invited to go to Australia as a visiting scholar. The following year, he left for the United States, staying there for the next 20 years.Living overseas separated You Si from the trends and movements in China’s contemporary movements like Political Pop, Cynical Realism, and Gaudy Art.

YouSi chose to create art that defined himself as a Chinese artist; his abstract ink-and-wash paintings executed on rice paper a distinctly Chinese material usually looked more distinctly Chinese than the work produced by Chinese artists at home. 

YouSi pays great attention to the technical finesse of painting, as we can see from his delicate brushstrokes and subtle compositions. At the same time, he also achieves in his art an expression of the spirit and metaphysical transcendence. These qualities are relatively lacking in the contemporary art world in China.