Cui Jie. Courtesy of Pilar Corrias Gallery.
To walk into a Cui Jie exhibition is to enter a fantastical, futuristic city. Her paintings are imaginative, science fiction–tinged depictions of metropolises that merge Eastern and Western aesthetics. Taking architecture and furniture as source material, the artist abstracts the structures to develop novel compositions. Paintings feature chair spindles broken apart into spirals, and tubes that float against a brushy background. Aidan Li, head of the K11 Art Foundation, noted that Cui “is one of the most talented painters of her generation.”
The artist’s aesthetic is informed by experiences living in major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, as well as her interests in Japan’s post-war Metabolism movement—which linked cities to living organisms—and the Bauhaus. While she explicitly references Chinese buildings in titles such as Guangzhou Telecom Building (2017), the relevance of Cui’s artwork is recognizable to any urban dweller considering the future of industrialized space.
Shanghai’s Antenna Space gave Cui a solo exhibition this past spring, following her solo presentation at Shenzen’s OCAT in 2018. Over the past year, she was picked up by New York’s Metro Pictures and London’s Pilar Corrias Gallery, and her work was featured in institutions and biennials from Cleveland to Belgrade, evidencing her growing worldwide appeal.