PrefaceTan Swie Hian
Facing The Raft of the Medusa, the gigantic masterpiece of Théodore Géricault, beside the darkened ocean under his paintbrush, one would be seized with nausea by its waves. Such perfect skill of Géricault’s in representing realism is an artistic forte every artist dreams of attaining. Its power is still indispensable for the artist to transmit a greater spirit of surrealism and a higher combination of imageries and thoughts, even as its function of recording reality is being replaced by photography today. Just like how Rene Magritte rendered his The Lovers , it is a great work forever adorable to us. And such is the stunning feature manifested in the art of Ren Jianhui.
Jianhui possesses exceptional artistic skills and an outstanding line of thought. Immersed unceasingly in creation, his recent works exude immense power, brimming with uncommon dynamism and a seamless join of Chinese ink and Western oil techniques; they include the reflection on current affairs, portrayal of an multitude of human behaviours and actions in the material world, and hopes for the future, and even the fate of man which is now a floating bottle in a certain space-time is within his concerns through the paintbrush. However, Jianhui is well aware that art, apart from being inspirational and sometimes even capable of making one forget his fears, is unable to grow plants like fertilizers. Therefore, his pure portraiture, though powerfully stylised, is as admirable as his scenes of bewildering imageries.
We can safely say that Jianhui is a distinguished “rebel” trained by master Wu Guanzhong, making a name for himself. Having inherited only the master’s devotion and passion for art, the rest all belongs to his originality.