Stones Having Body Temperature: The Statuary Art of QIU Qi-jing

GU Zhen-qing

QIU Qi-Jing employs jade, intelligent one in Chinese tradition, instead of plain rock, and endows stones with concrete, true-to-life temperature. Holding Chinese art tradition of “aesthetic Odes” in high esteem, he transforms survival reality under current consumerism into leisurely human sentiments, and lays stress on enjoyable aesthetic experience which in turn expands human life boundary. His artworks are, therefore, instinct with confidence and life. A kind of life that derives not only from the artist’s self-motivation driven by instinct, but creation fever accumulated over time.

These jade was released from worldly fetters under his carve, as if were awakened by an inner connection between the artist and its material form. QIU Qi-jing masters a penetrating perception of jade, which may attribute to ancient conventions of Chinese culture. Conveying contemporary survival state and spiritual reality, QIU Qi-jing displays in his works perceptual blend, rather than sharp opposition, between logic and experience. Besides, retaining both contemporary and traditional styles, QIU QI-jing reflects in his jade carving a renewing over traditional Chinese aestheticism, and a perfect harmony between life and art.

QIU Qi-jing was born in Fujian, a place famous for Shou Shan Stone Carving. Knowing Shou Shan Stone at the age of six, he took to Shou Shan Stone Carving in 1999 and graduated from the Sculpture Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2005. During his study, QIU Qi-jing created a series of modernist style sculpture expressing humane care which benefited from interaction of western and eastern culture. Spiritual independence and freedom indicated by modern western culture offered his brand new vision in art. It’s from that time QIU Qi-jing started to concern with cultural reflection and realistic criticism of contemporary art. In 2006, he presented his large installation “The Great Migration” specifically corresponding to a certain field. Taking this occasion, he tried to explore self-innovation and self-application of contemporary art. Later, he even worked his incisive contemporary idea into traditional jade carving.

In the last thirty years, there was a modern ideological and aesthetic transformation in almost every field of Chinese art circle. Facing the embarrassing systematic crux of traditional Chinese jade carving, QIU Qi-jing endeavours to promote an innovative creativity, in order to break the rigid manner at the Turning Stage of Chinese society.

From 2006, QIU Qi-jing continually released hundreds of jade seal series, that consequently made him a new influence against traditional seal art. He poured alienation and anxiety into the size and schemata of traditional seal, which lightened solemnity of orthodox seal. Among them, one seal named “Revolution” which cost five years, explicitly reveals his post-modernist attitude toward opposition between appearance and reality, signified and signifier. Moreover, by the old routine of seal art, he conducted a sitcom in the limited place of a seal in an ironic manner. What QIU Qi-jing sued for is nothing about the reconstruction of meaning and value, but exposure of physical self-conflict and mental anxiety. When audience observes these art pieces, they will unconsciously feel uneasiness and fear by certain sensitive details.

In the aspect of independent thinking and value judgment, QIU Qi-jing suffered from pain and turmoil from the collision of western and eastern culture, though he applied rationally while flexibly different tools produced by two cultures. His Shou Shan Stone carving named “Engine” created in 2008 fully manifests a cultural fission: every stone taking the shape of animal embryo or amnia has one or more breach, within which a vivid modern auto engine installed. This series entails explosive energy of industrial society, as well as its unpredictable future.

But at the same time in criticizing cultural conservatism, QIU Qi-jing realizes the essence of Chinese traditional culture. The more he scans its aesthetic schemata and transition to modernity, the more ethos along with the freedom he draws. When employs Hetian jade as material, QIU Qi-jing clearly comprehends the damage hierarchical system brought to traditional spirit. Therefore, as an artist, he strives for emancipation of the mind to inherit traditional jade culture in a creative manner. He dives deep into the aestheticism of Zhuang Zhou and Zen to experience the ideal state of traditional aesthetic schemata. After training himself with ancient style Hetian jade carving, QIU Qi-jing presented highly personalized “Nine-square Puzzle”. By his balance of object and ego, internal and external via a froth of water, a small rowboat or a thin horse presented in Hetian jade, the traditional aesthetic concept is precisely conveyed. And all these natural objects, that represent loftiness and serenity of traditional Chinese art, are emblematic of QIU Qi-jing himself.

What QIU Qi-jing carves are stones having body temperature, heated by his own energy. The temperature exhibits realistic meaning of preserving Chinese traditional art, as well as self-renewal possibility of contemporary art under the Chinese cultural context.

Gu, Qing Zhen. “Stones Having Body Temperature: The Statuary Art of QIU Qi-jing.” 邱启敬 Qiu Qijing. N.p., 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 02 May 2015. <>.