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White Flame

Xue Ruozhe

05.08.2023 | 25.10.2023
Beijing Permanent Space

MASSIMODECARLO is pleased to present Chinese artist Xue Ruozhe’s latest project White Flame with the gallery in Beijing, opening on August 5th.

Xue Ruozhe's paintings go beyond the conventional portrayal of reality, depicting people and objects from everyday life while continuously exploring the authenticity of images. He places figures in seemingly empty yet constrained backgrounds. The faceless characters in his paintings might appear to limit viewers' interpretations, but through expressive body language and calm tones, viewers are overwhelmed by the artworks’ emotions. The tension embedded within paintings extends beyond the canvas, inviting us to step onto a multi-dimensional stage between reality and surrealism.

The works exhibited in White Flame start with the materiality of oil painting, presenting the possibilities of white as a basic element in the language of oil painting. White, as a medium, possesses remarkable performances: under different underlying colors, it reveals rich variations. "White to White" depicts the back view of two girls standing in nearly identical postures against a white background. The different thicknesses of white create diverse textures in the composition, imbuing tranquility with a sense of strength. Another group of white-toned works "Off White" awakens viewers' perception of tranquility by capturing partial images of still figures, intending to make viewers resonate with the picture and fall into introspection.

In this exhibition, the flame, as a traditional light source, appears only once in the center of the largest painting, "False Fire." Though not serving as an actual light source, it is a trigger point of emotions within the entire exhibition. It potentially presents the inner eruption but without any concrete manifestations of color or form. The two girls with their backs turned to the audience stand amidst a stage-like backdrop, seemingly ready to step forward. Simultaneously, in "A Little Orange Book," the flame-like bright color block arrests viewers' attention, raising doubts about the authenticity of the depicted scene.

In paintings, white is often used to portray the parts illuminated by light, representing the materialization of light. The white light coming from outside the picture seems like a burning whitish flame, illuminating the forms. As the light reflects and circulates onto the canvas, it transforms into a spiritual and introspective light originating from within the work. As seen in the dark-toned artwork "After Dürer," white light outlines the contours of the black gloves, resembling twinkling flames that light up the image. This not only pays homage to the Renaissance art master, but also deliberately achieves a balance between colors and emotions through subtle brushstrokes.

Xue Ruozhe's paintings are restrained: his use of color is not intense, suggesting more colors through less than half of the color spectrum. Emotions continuously accumulate within restraint and implication. The serene portrayal of body parts in "Untitled," the contrasting tension between the skin texture and background flames in "Torch," as well as the constrained figures and controlled atmosphere in "Sealant", all demonstrate the artist's precise control over colors, stimulating viewers' infinite imagination through composed and concise color tones.

Xue Ruozhe's exploration of the painterly and viewing aspects of images is an ongoing process. He seeks breakthroughs while staying rooted in sincerity and conviction. He encompasses everything in the ever-changing environment. Using painting as a medium, he connects individuals with society, reflecting on the fluctuations of the self and the era, while igniting endless white flames beneath the seemingly calm surface.


Xue Ruozhe