Cui Jie


    Cui Jie (b. 1983, Shanghai) currently lives and works in Shanghai. The modernization, the development of city landscape and the unified and tedious style of contemporary architecture has always been one of the topics being discussed in Cui Jie’s paintings of cities. Connecting and intertwining visions of the past and the present under her brushstrokes, Cui expresses her nostalgia for the past and a seemingly utopian exploration for the future landscape, and hence evokes the viewer’s collective nostalgia.

    She has been included in Phaidon Press’s publication Vitamin P3. Her works have been placed into the collections of various institutions such as Centre Pompidou, MoMA, Art Institute of Chicago, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Rubell Family Collection, Kistefos Museum and M+ Collection HK.

    Selected solo and two-person exhibitions: Species as Gifts, Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project, West Bund Museum, Shanghai, China (2023); Cui Jie: Thermal Landscapes, Pilar Corrias, London, UK (2023); New Model Village, Focal Point Gallery, Essex, UK (2022); From Pavilion to Space Station, Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, UK (2019); The Peak Tower, Pilar Corrias, London, UK (2019); To Make a Good Chair, Antenna Space, Shanghai, China (2019); The Enormous Space (with Lee Kit), OCAT, Shenzhen, China (2018); Latter, Former, Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin, Ireland (2016); Cui Jie: The Proposals for Old and New Urbanism, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai, China (2014) among others.

    Selected group exhibitions: One and All: New Artistic Styles of Contemporary Painting, curated by Yi Ying, Wang Jing and Yuan Jiawei are executive curators, National Art Museum of China, Beijing(2024); Shanghai Biennale: Cosmos Cinema, curated by the team led by Anton Vidokle, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China (2023); Horizons: Is there anybody out there?, curated by Robin Peckham, Antenna Space, China (2023); Brave New World: 16 Painters for the 21st century, Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle, The Netherlands (2023); Steadfastly Revise for the Standards in Nonproductive Construction: Part I: Solid Molds, Long March Space, Beijing, China (2022); Common Ground: UCCA 15th Anniversary Patrons Collection Exhibition, UCCA, Beijing, China (2022); Liquid Ground, Para Site, Hong Kong, China (2021); Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth, Pace Palo Alto, San Francisco, US (2021); L’Invitation au voyage, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Germany (2021); Taipei Biennial 2020: You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet, Centre Pompidou, Metz, France (2021); Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei (2020); 1st X Museum Triennial: How Do We Begin?, X Museum, Beijing, China (2020); China Africa, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2020); Uncompleted, Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing, China (2019); Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future, Tai Kwun Contemporary Art Museum, Hong Kong, China(2019); An Opera for Animals, Para Site, Hong Kong, China (2019); Cosmopolis #1.5: Enlarged Intelligence, Centre Pompidou & Mao Jihong Arts Foundation, Chengdu, China (2018); Long March Project: Building Code Violations III—Special Economic Zone, Guangdong Time Museum, Guangzhou, China (2018); FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art: An American City, Cleveland, US (2018); Past Skin, MoMA PS1, New York, US (2017) among others.





    • Cui Jie’s Solo Exhibition “New Model Village” – The Guardian | Words: Skye Sherwin

      It was less the architecture that interested Cui, however, than “the elements that are nowhere to be found today: who used to live there, the communal lifestyle and intimacy between people. Unlike buildings, traces of life can easily fade away.” A number of her works explore how communities’ aspirations and ideology are shaped by our surroundings. In drawings, Caoyang’s social realist public statues – including weavers with arms raised like conquering divinities – merge with edifices from the Bata estate. Elsewhere, Bata and Caoyang’s cinemas blend. Although western and Chinese movies were poles apart politically, she points out “they were both ritual spaces where the public is to be collectively entranced. We can clearly see the aesthetic function of the statues: they reveal the ideal state of trance.”

    • Gates to the City: Cui Jie | Owen Hatherley

      Looking at the work of Cui Jie from a northern European perspective, the first error is probably to think you’re seeing some form of lament for a modernist past. That narrative is fairly familiar now, based on a longing for the largest-scale remnants of the material culture of postwar social democracy or state socialism—the buildings they left behind to be inhabited or ruined under neoliberalism.

    • Cui Jie: Lines of Flight between Surface and Model | Yuan Jiawei

      Amid a wave of postmodernism, this full-fledged approach of developing and utilizing the value-in-exchange of symbols caused a breach in creative barriers between art and architecture, and cast light on the way in which modernism captured pure form. In particular reference to urban construction and development, the interchangeability of the identity of artist and architect is instrumental in pushing the notion of space towards a dimension verging on democracy. In this vein, Cui Jie, an artist who came of age in the 1980s and 90s, shows a keen grasp on the various architectural patterns that have had a profound effect on the rapid renewal and expansion process of Chinese cities, and is adept at selectively harking back to these precedents of modernization in her painting and sculptural practice, thus triggering a momentary sense of the immediate future. The architect’s psyche reflected in her work goes beyond a mere collage-like schematization of architectural elements. Instead, her works are predicated on a technical enthusiasm for the city’s “autonomous surface” (hereafter referred to as the “epidermis”) and a pattern recognition of geographical misplacement or anachorism.

    • Rearviews & Mirrors: Architecture, idealism and anachronism in the work of Cui Jie | Zhou Ying

      Representations of the future always look dated as soon as the future itself arrives. Part of China’s post-1980s generation, the artist Cui Jie makes paintings that continually confound our sense of time in their seeming nostalgia for the future. Set against a metallic sky and often floating above a similarly reflective gridded ground, Cui’s technically exquisite renderings of built forms not only capture a specific typology of urban China’s modernist artefacts; together with her more recent sculptures, they scrutinize the veracity of modernism as an ideology claiming the future. To the artist, who did a residency last year in Tel Aviv, the flawless International Style of the white city is appealing but not all that ‘interesting’. What compels her is precisely the opposite: the seemingly arbitrary, erratic and often jarring juxtaposition of an appropriated modernism against a context that is, in itself, rapidly shifting. Reconstructed amidst the chaos of China’s urban transition, the pristine, future-facing forms of Western modernism read as anachronisms.

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