aatonau Skip to main content

The Genesis of an Artistic Journey

Xinyi Cheng, a Chinese figurative painter currently based in Paris, France, commenced her journey in the arts with a Bachelor of Arts in Sculpture from Tsinghua University in 2012. This sculptural foundation has profoundly influenced her painting style, endowing her characters with a distinctive voluminous quality, existing in a realm that is both smooth and three-dimensional. Cheng’s transition from sculpture to painting was further solidified during her multidisciplinary Master of Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art, completed in 2014. Here, the artist began to explore the delicate intricacies of human relationships and desires, laying the groundwork for her future thematic focus.

After completing her studies, Cheng embarked on a pivotal journey, moving to the Netherlands in 2016 for a two-year residency program at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten. This period marked a significant evolution in her artistic narrative. In the Netherlands, she was inspired by her friendships with gay Dutch men, culminating in a series of paintings that vividly captured these relationships. These works, rich in allegorical depictions, began to reveal Cheng’s unique ability to explore intent and intimacy through her art. In 2017, her path took her to Paris, a city synonymous with art and creativity, where she continued to refine her approach to figurative painting, drawing inspiration from her encounters with friends and strangers alike.

Xinyi Cheng: A Reflection of Life and Relationships

Xinyi Cheng’s artistic oeuvre is primarily composed of portraits, capturing people in everyday situations. These are not mere representations but are imbued with the memories and interactions she shares with her friends and acquaintances. In these portraits, Cheng’s subjects are often depicted in intimate settings, allowing her to delve deeply into the nuances of human relationships. This intimacy is further heightened by her surrealistic color palette, which adds an otherworldly dimension to the otherwise mundane scenarios.

Cheng’s portraits are a testament to her skill as a documentarian of moods. Her choice of colors, brushstrokes, and spatial arrangements coalesce into ambient reflections of her subjects. These subjects, often friends and acquaintances, are presented in a way that transcends traditional portraiture. Her unique approach to portraying sensual interactions has garnered significant acclaim, leading to her winning the Baloise Art Prize in 2019. This accolade brought her work to new heights, culminating in a solo exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof the following year. Through her art, Cheng has created a distinctive narrative style, one that deftly captures the essence of her subjects while also reflecting broader themes of desire and human connection.

Surrealism Meets Intimacy in Cheng’s Art

Xinyi Cheng’s artistry transcends the conventional boundaries of figurative painting, as she masterfully blends surrealistic elements with intimate portrayals of human relationships. This unique synthesis is the hallmark of her work, distinguishing her within the contemporary art scene. Cheng’s use of surrealistic palettes is not just an aesthetic choice but a narrative tool, allowing her to rhapsodize on the diverse aspects of desire and intimacy. Her paintings, characterized by their sumptuous style, draw the viewer into a world where emotions and relationships are explored through allegorical depictions that are both revealing and enigmatic.

The artist’s journey in Paris, post-2017, marked a significant evolution in her artistic expression. During this period, Cheng began to chronicle her male friends-turned-subjects, inviting them to enact scenes from her memory or imagination. This process resulted in artworks that are deeply personal yet universally resonant. The intimate spaces she depicts, combined with her distinct approach to color and form, create a visual language that communicates the intricacies of human interactions. Cheng’s works, thus, become a window into the subtle dynamics of relationships, capturing moments of vulnerability, affection, and complexity.

Xinyi Cheng: The Global Recognition

Xinyi Cheng’s extraordinary talent has not gone unnoticed in the art world. Her distinctive approach to figurative painting has led her to clinch prestigious awards and participate in renowned exhibitions globally. A testament to her growing acclaim was winning the Baloise Art Prize in 2019, a significant milestone that underscored the unique appeal of her work. Following this achievement, Cheng’s art has been showcased in some of the most prestigious galleries and exhibitions worldwide, including Art Basel, Lafayette Anticipations in Paris, and Hamburger Bahnhof—Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin.

Moreover, Cheng’s participation in both solo and group exhibitions at various eminent venues like The Renaissance Society in Chicago, Capitain Petzel in Berlin, and the Frans Hals Museum in The Netherlands further cements her status as a leading figure in contemporary art. Her works are not only appreciated for their aesthetic value but also for their ability to evoke deep emotional responses and provoke thought. The inclusion of her works in esteemed collections such as the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin and the Pinault Collection illustrates the profound impact and lasting relevance of her artistic contributions. Through her consistent exploration of human desire and intimacy, Xinyi Cheng continues to captivate audiences, leaving an indelible mark on the art world.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu


542-0085 Osaka
Chuo Ward, Shinsaibashisuji
1 Chome−4−10