By Jack Williams
From afar these intricate works may look like abstract mazes, but on closer inspection they actually show the makeup of some of the world’s busiest metropolises.
Lu Xinjian’s “City DNA” series challenges viewers to guess the city, with lines and squiggles, circles and squares making up the likes of London, Paris, New York and Beijing.
The artist’s selections of cities so far have been those that are “rich in culture,” he said, with each work taking Xinjian around two weeks to complete, working from 8am until 11pm.
Each painting requires 11 steps – each of which must be carefully planned.
The first step in Xinjian’s routine is to sketch out the city using Google Earth – an outline that he then transfers into stencil form and onto a canvas.
Each line is then painted individually using a small brush, such is the intricacy of Xinjian’s work, with the artist having his father on hand for additional help.
Having then taken off the tape to reveal lines, the artist adds another layer of tape again – this time using a smaller brush to correct certain lines.
The final works are created on large-scale canvases, which can stretch across entire walls.
The colors used for each city, 40-year-old Xinjian said, are predominantly chosen based off a flag or city’s identity.
Xinjian’s work will be on display at the De Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong, on May 19.
The artist, who currently resides in Shanghai, said: “Lots of people was surprised in the beginning how I found so many taps, but when they realized it’s painted, they will be more surprised, and when they found it’s a city, they start to discover the iconic place they lived or traveled.
“It’s always fascinating to me to see the different rhythm through the different city.
“This rhythm is constructed under the concept of Ying Yang, it becomes very meditative.
“I like to put them together and think in another volume, time and space.”