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Exploring sex, death and the soul

SU Yingchun first came to Shanghai in 2004. He still remembers his first impression of the city: "What a big and chaotic metropolis!"

The young art student was on a short visit to enter one of his artworks in a national competition.

But he was surprised when he became "entangled" with the city.

"For no reason, I just thought that I belonged here," he says. "Merely walking on the street made my spine tingle. This is a city of passion, at least for me."

Yet it is still hard to imagine that a young fresh graduate with almost no connection to the city could survive.

With tens of thousand of yuan in his pocket - earned from selling prints when he was a student - Su arrived here shortly after graduation.

"I am proud that I am able to feed myself," says Su. "Moreover, I also created a series of work that has gradually been recognized in the local art community."

His first job was at the Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, which gave him a chance to meet different kinds of art people including artists, dealers and collectors.

"It really offered me a platform not only to build up my personal contacts, but also to widen my art vision," he says.

Su's black-and-white woodcut prints are visually striking with an inexplicable power. The exaggerated curves and lines are reminiscent of African art, full of primitive force.

"I try to dig out the inner side of human beings," Su explains. "Some say my artwork is about sex, death and the soul. Sounds very heavy, eh?"

But such heavy subject matter gives him a deeper understanding of life.

"Once you approach the very core of all things, it will 'inject' you with a kind of spirit that will be mirrored in your works," Su says.

This includes using the feelings from his personal life. Su recently ended a five-year relationship with his girlfriend.

"At first I nearly collapsed," he says, sighing. "But I felt much better after I poured all the emotions into my creations."

Now he rents a studio in the suburbs of the city and leads a life that he has expected in Shanghai.

"Everything will be better and better," says Su.


Ji Weiyu (above left) was born in 1980, while Song Tao (above right) was born in 1979, both in Shanghai.

Both graduated from the Shanghai Art and Craft College in graphic design in 2000.

Solo exhibition at the ShanghART Gallery in 2005

Su Yingchun

Born in 1984 in Yuanjiang, Hunan Province

Graduated from the Print Department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2007.

Solo exhibition at AHOK in Belgium in 2009


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