Xu Ruotao appropriation of electronically recorded images, which are ultimately transposed onto canvas subsumed beneath the finely woven networks of lines inflicted upon them in the computer and recreated meticulously by hand the old-fashioned way. He has never sought to alter any of the original images in any way, other than to impose his motif of the line drawing across the surface as a filter, a prism, through which we must draw upon our own memory and visual reading skills to unpick the web of lines placed over the surface.
Xu Ruotao erects a temporary barrier to an instant reading of the work. Significantly, this impedes our intuitive categorization of his approach, which is so hard to suppress when confronted with a style or approach with which we are unfamiliar.
Zeng Hong’s work employs motifs of cheap red brick building facades, and repeated ceramic tiles of beauty-less copied and cheap décor, like in the public toilets’ “public private space”. These repeated motifs correspond with the artist’s seemingly mechanical drawing technique to explore concepts both visual and psychological rendering tensions between creativity and duplicity, vitality and imprisonment, even abundance and monotony. These works move beyond society’s original historical background, presenting a metaphor for modern city life, constructed upon the rhythms of commercial exchange.