The concept of this exhibition start from the specific property of a material; Fire Resistant refers to the material itself or the way it is processed to delay the spreading of a fire. This protective process forms an interesting contrast to Xue Ruozhe’s working methodology. In recent years, Xue initiated a precise, poised and intentionally slow approach to the field of figurative painting. The exhibition "Fire Resistant" will present his latest works, including paintings, videos and sculptures.
As one of the oldest themes in Western painting, portrait, more precisely self-portrait, is a significant theme which is deeply rooted in Xue’s artistic exploration. It is also closely related to the idea of consciousness, perception, identity, and today’s social environment. Artists from Rembrandt to Egon Schiele, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and others have put a lot of effort into creating self-portraits and portraits. The figures depicted in many of Xue Ruozhe's works in recent years, and in most of the works in this exhibition, come from the artist’s own circle of friends. But when we reach the boundary between reality and the surreal emanating from his imagination, Xue shows us how he presents portraits in a way that is almost self-dissecting by the use of a mirroring refraction. From the artist's point of view, painting does not necessarily transcribe accurately this era but, consciously or unconsciously, it will definitely reflect the artist's own experience and embody the long history of painting itself. To a certain extent, all paintings are "self-portraits". For Xue Ruozhe, self-portrait is not only a mean of expression, but also an inner monologue. In the two roles of the observer and of the observed, he repeatedly uses a restrained and subtle chromatic palette. Transforming roles, deconstructing spaces, creating depths that can be interpreted through each layer, not just using "Still lives" and "Scenes" that reveal themselves at first glance. "Only by penetrating the visible image can the more essential arrangements in the picture be read: brushstroke running, paint overlay, space alternation."
Xue Ruozhe was born in Jiangsu in 1987. In 2012, he graduated from the third studio of the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In 2015, he graduated from the Painting Department of the Royal Academy of Arts with a master's degree. He has won the Neville Boston Award, Gordon-Luton Fine Art Award, and the Tom Bendheim Prize for Figurative Painting, among others, and was shortlisted for the 2022 Outstanding Asian Art Award. His paintings cross the boundary between the real and the surreal. In deliberately limited, high-density tones, he is constantly doing subtraction, skillfully imparting the qualities of eternity and hovering over the picture.