Feng Zhengjie is considered one of the brightest rising stars of Chinese contemporary art. He says, “My works are primarily focused on the massive consuming culture and the effects of a fast changing society on its people’s looks and minds. When I was in school we were very traditional, the education was conservative, being adopted from the Soviet methodology. In the meantime, however, there were massive changes outside the school. There was popular music from Hong Kong and Taiwan blasting on the street, everywhere was covered with posters of superstars; this sort of thing baffled me. Deep down I was trying to think about profundity but my youth was attracted to popular culture, I was struggling and puzzled because I couldn’t resist it. I wanted to enjoy it but I knew it was shallow and of no importance, a waste of time.
My portrait series also contains a significant amount of perplexity, at the beginning I wanted to express the consequences upon individuals as a result of expedited growing society, these effects and influences come from the capitalization within China. The façade of the subject in the portraits is very international, but is the inside of the subject also international? I feel dubious about it. A lot of people ask me why the eyes of the subject look as if they lack engagement, absent-minded and unable to concentrate; when I was creating the portraits I didn’t think of any of these words but all these statements are included and inclined to show how we feel: on one hand we are looking around to discover and are tempted; on the other, we are hazy and intimidated by the wide range of options that we can choose from.”1
1. Feng Zhengjie, In Artists’ Eyes, China Securities Journal, December 2008, translated from Chinese.