Song Yige at Marlborough Fine Art

This month Marlborough Fine Art stages an exhibition of paintings by the Beijing-based artist Song Yige. This is the first solo exhibition of Song’s work outside of Asia and is curated by the eminent Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi. Born in 1980 in Heilongjiang Province, China, Song Yige has lived and worked in Beijing since graduating from art school in 2007. Zeng Fanzhi has been a collector of Song’s work for many years. Lyrical and narrative, yet rife with Surrealist influence, Yige’s paintings explore the workings of the human psyche. This particular group of works focusses on the dialectical notions of togetherness and isolation.   Alex Platon, Senior Director at Marlborough Fine Art describes Song’s paintings as the meeting point of fact and fantasy. “Her works are always incredibly atmospheric with a strong sense of intrigue.” Song achieves this mystery partly through a perennially muted colour palette. Where there are flashes of colour it comes leaping off the canvas, in the instance of the purple ribbon tied around the classical sculptures in ‘Twins’ for example. The surreptitious nature of these paintings is also due to Song’s varied and ambiguous compositional eye: balloons painted over faces, subjects depicted from behind and stacked tortoises, all contributing to a permeating note of the Surreal.   In spite of the ineluctable sense of otherworldliness which characterises this series, Song’s paintings force us to confront our inner thoughts and feelings, transporting us emotionally rather than psychologically or geographically. “Song’s works subtly engage with contemporary issues; they reflect the experience of living in the modern world, everyday sights, objects and feelings.” says Platon.   The influence of Zeng Fanzhi on Song’s work is discernible, but Platon is keen to highlight the Western influences on her artistic vocabulary. “Renaissance painting as well as Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Francis Bacon, and Alberto Giacometti are all subtle influences. Song doesn’t try to use her art as vehicle of political ideas; it is filled with strong emotions like loneliness and human experience.” Now known for his expressive brushstrokes and abstract style, Zeng Fanzhi’s early works were more concerned with an exploration of the unconscious. This introspective approach to art making infects both Fanzhi’s and Song’s works with a compelling potency.   Alongside its focus on Western figurative painters over the last 70 years, Marlborough Fine Art also has an established association with Chinese artists, championing the new generation of post-communist Chinese artists including Zeng Fanzhi. The Song Yige exhibition is indicative of Marlborough’s continuing interest in and support of contemporary Chinese art. Platon first encountered Song’s work whilst visiting Zeng Fanzhi at his studio in Beijing. “[Song’s painting] was powerful and intriguing and it really captured me. I found the seemingly simple composition completely magical and arresting.”   Until 27 February 2016 at Marlborough Fine Art, 6 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BY   www.marlboroughlondon.com   – See more at: http://asianartnewspaper.com/gallery-shows/song-yige-marlborough-fine-art#sthash.vIhuMt7U.dpuf