The paintings of Beijing-based artist Yan Lei always begin with photographs, digitally reduced to a narrow color range to reveal their own artificiality. Yan Lei reconstructs and analyses images based on his everyday experiences, generally reflecting upon the relationship of the artist to an increasingly globalized art world.
Yan Lei’s works explore the relationship between the artist, culture, and painting. According to the artist, “Painting, after all, is just a mindless re-presentation of an image you might see in a photograph., the process of making that painting has become superfluous.” Yan Lei’s images hold the viewer at arms length, dissolving into abstract monochromes as the viewer approaches them.
Yan Lei was born in Hebei, China; he currently lives and works in Beijing. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, among them, Art in Motion, MoCA Shanghai, China, 2006; CHINA NOW-Fascination of a Changing World, Sammlung Essl, Klostemeuburg, Vienna, Austria, 2006; Guangzhou Triennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, China, 2005; and China Then, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2003. In 2003, he was selected to participate in the 50th Venice Biennale, and in 2007 his work was in Documenta XII.