Born in Shanxi, China, 1960
Lives and works in Beijing
Anonymous City NO.1, 2017
oil on canvas
Before moving to Songzhuang, Beijing and settling in a studio in 2010, Nong Shaohua had several jobs in Shanxi Province, where he was born and grew up. Nong worked maintaining boilers and cleaning trains and never engaged in any formal academic art study. Instead, Nong explored his own way of painting. Decrepit bikes leave covered country roads, a voyeuristic man leaning against a wall, a chicken wandering on a roof… Nong’s unique and free organization of these ordinary, seemingly insignificant aspects of his paintings reveal to us the indeterminate plot, subtle symbols, and humorous irony that marks his work.
Nong Shaohua says his inspiration comes mainly from meditating, and that he is also influenced by the random and accidental in everyday life. He also draws some influences from the film. On looking at his paintings it is clear that he intentionally avoids presenting a clear cultural identity, and similarly avoids topics linked to current events and happenings. This is clear from the ways in which Nong often obscures the individuality of the characters in his paintings, as well as their social status, cultural backgrounds and even genders. He ultimately creates his own worlds within his paintings, one which is fantastical in its detachment from the real world. His canvases are not marked by some traditional Chinese painting style, nor are they comfortably viewed and understood with reference to Western, or ancient, or even contemporary artistic techniques and subjects. For example, his paintings are often not constrained by traditional rules of perspective.
In all of this Nong Shaohua is able to present a surreal and dreamlike world, both in form, technique, and subject. Nong hopes that his paintings are accessible and that no matter where his audiences come from and regardless of their cultural background they are able to read the stories he presents, become lost in their plots, and feel their varied emotions, from depression and sadness to happiness and cheerfulness.
Nong Shaohua is an artist who uses the subconscious and meditation to communicate with the world. His difference is derived from this. He never presupposes the style of his work, not even the style. He cares about the process of his work. Because, in this process, he has a kind of communication that is difficult for others to understand with the ever-changing picture. He is obsessed with this kind of communication, and his works are the result of this exchange. It may be about human nature, desire, loneliness, and may also be about conspiracy, sin, fear, and may also be about delusions, madness, embarrassment, helplessness, etc. These secrets of the world, which are secret and real, are the content of his communication with the picture. The so-called exchange is like two people talking. There are questions and answers, and there are opinions and opinions. However, Nong Shaohua uses his visual language to communicate with his pictures. Moreover, his visual language has left our visual experience. It is the reason that his picture always gives people a sense of strangeness.
The universe is like a dream, the earth is like a dream, and life is like a dream. In the gradual accumulation of experience, human civilisation has broken through epistemology as the Buddhist sayings, “All things are law, such as dream bubbles.” Nong Shaohua’s painting world is a dreamy fictional reality. Most of his works are reflected in a “fantasy reality”, and the almost fictional scene shows his inner world. It can be asserted that his picture realm is in the sense of psychology or psychoanalysis. The spiritual world of an artist is mostly biased towards the sensuous side of talent.