Peng Wei: Art Is Not Invention

Chinese Artists

The Chinese Contemporary Artist Who Uses Her Inspirations To Create Unique Works From Her Heart – Peng Wei

Like most Chinese artists, contemporary artist Peng Wei started to learn painting at an early age. She won an international prize and became nationally famous at the age of five. Unlike most Chinese artists, she later went to a comprehensive university and obtained a masters degree in Philosophy. Looking back at this experience, Peng Wei says that aesthetics is not the only way that leads to art.

Peng Wei loves copying dense and interesting texts from letters, diaries, or poetry of western writers, carefully folding them and wrapping with silk ribbon, encasing them in custom wooden boxes. Then she would select a playful title as if she was sending a long letter to some preordained person she does not know.

Peng was once inspired by a song called The Best Things in Life Are Free, and created a piece of work of the same name. She recalls that the song left a deep impression on her when watching the last season of American TV series Mad Men. “The lyrics were simple but touching. In the show, they run such a business, but the best things in life are free.”

“The moon belongs to everyone.
Stars belong to everyone…
Love can come to everyone.”

This was not the first time that Peng Wei got inspired by something and used it in her art. In her latest solo project, Peng showed the public eight paintings of stones and named them It All Depends. Her inspiration came from a letter that Boris Pasternak wrote to Rainer Maria Rilke to explain that the success of poetry depends on accidental factors.

Considering the time, location and the mood, Peng realized that she uses the same way to paint stones. “There are various accidental factors, no matter in the formation of stones or in the process of me painting them.”

Knowing that Andy Warhol also painted shoes, Peng thought, “How would Andy see the shoes I have painted? He certainly wouldn’t care that I am doing what he had done, but it would be fun!”

In fact, whether stones, shoes, clothing, bodies, or landscapes, Peng Wei has always painted things that other people before her have painted. Originally, she thought that these were unique discoveries, but later she learnt that these materials had been painted before.

As a result, she ceased to care about other people and immersed herself in her passion. “Art is not invention,” she says. “And nothing is an original creation. Every work appears utterly unique because it comes from the artist’s sincere heart, and every heart is different. Thus, even though the theme is the same, knowing who painted it is extremely important.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.