25 Contemporary Chinese Artists You Need to Know

He Sen

Medium: Painting

Based in: Beijing

Ingeniously, He Sen has made a career painting beautiful, scantily-clad young women with a stuffed animal in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Admittedly, the stuffed animal is sometimes replaced by a bottle of liquor or a piece of jewelry, but the sensual central figure surrounded by wisps of smoke remains the cornerstone of his oeuvre. Something about his muted color palette and his high-intensity photorealism subdue what could otherwise be overt sexuality—instead they seem stony, aloof, and highly aware. Understanding that it is possible to have too much of a good thing, he has turned to landscapes in his more recent work, reimagining traditional ink styles in oil paint.

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