Beibei & Leilei Chen
The subjects Beibei and Leilei address in their works are closely related to what has been happening in China in the past and to this day. China is a complex place in terms of its social issues, identity, and politics. In the past and even today, they have always maintained an interest in addressing the importance of free will and art in China, particularly the importance of defining “Chinese-ness.”
This work, “Oriental Expression,” demonstrates that China is a multicultural community, in which a great variety of people have coexisted and evolved from the onset of this 5000-year-old civilization, intermingling their art and cultures. In portraying everyday people from different ethnicities and cultures, Beibei and Leilei hope to convey the essence of Chinese people’s philosophy: their way of living as well as their cultural identities and endurance. Their acceptance of hardship is manifest through the portrait depiction, which is an attempt at interpreting the spiritual core of modern lifestyle in China. The figures in the paintings are intended to show the structure and mobility of both Chinese and Western cultures, which are different but nevertheless share similarities. Beibei and Leilei hope to evoke a state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, love, and other feelings are experienced visually, through the spectator’s and viewer’s perceptions in a different way than through the traditional linguistic and cognitive states of consciousness that they usually share and experience.