As a young Chinese artist of the new generation, Deng Xinli affirms the significance and functionality of painting with his art practice, improving not only his own value but also the eternal dialogue between art and the world, history, and time. Thus, to make art meaningful is to retrospect to history and question reality constantly.
Deng Xinli’s work can be described as a critical fantasy that expresses the political and symbolic changes into Chinese values seen by an Asiatic eye and his social interaction beyond the military power. He is guided by the changes of patterns of this era, combined with a surrealist mood that reflects the historical and materialistic revolutions, affecting tradition and creating new myths
Deng Xinli’s primary purpose is to combine tradition with the current state, revive a cultural memory in time and space crisscross, endowing these images evolved from ancient times with new life and symbolism. Characters of Hang & Tang Dynasties are recognized through the ages for their elegancy and beauty, representing an ideal of verve and idleness. Deng Xinli integrated his various personal experiences and achievements in art exploration into the images he created. He endeavored to visualize time, transforming quiescent history and culture into fresh and visible contemporary sense. All of these are time indications, yet this is not the artist’s intention. The artist aims at getting through the past and present, discovering the charisma and fantasy of creation, and pursuing the visual answer to the source of culture memory.
I grew up in the countryside in Jingzhou, Hubei province, along the Yangtze River.
I remember during the busy seasons in my elementary school days, the school will let us transplant rice seedlings. We sometimes just cook the crops we get and eat them. The nature nurtures my childhood. For having fun, I also stand on the shoulder of my friend who is taller than me. In 1980, I went to middle school. I remembered there was a big flood when the school started. The houses in the village were all drowned, so we lived on the trees beside the houses! Children play with the doors in the flood every day, the nature leaves me many unforgettable memories.
Soon, I transferred to another military school in Yichang in 1982. That is a very big military institution, which investigates bombs, submarines, torpedos, and all of the naval weapons. At that time, I tried the real military helicopter, submarine and weapons. Half of the teachers are the staff from the institution, and that was the first time I felt knowledge and imagination are powerful. In 1989 after I graduated I started to learn oil painting in Yueyang and Changsha. I felt very happy and satisfied to paint in the mountain area among orange trees. In 1993, I went to Beijing to study painting in a college and from 1996 onwards I started to work on my artistic direction on performance art.
I worked with a film crew for one month in Wuxi and knew that each scene can be created. I even began to wonder if the city Wuxi itself is fake after leaving the city….
In 1999, I started to do image creation. I worked for a photo studio and knew my photographer teacher Jiangzi at that time. Then I quit at the second half of the year and began to create freely on my own. All in all, my life experiences have a great influence on my art creation and is the core of my artistic theme. - Li Wei, 2016