Although young, Qiu Xiaofei has already defined a unique style of painting. Finding his subject matter in his personal memories, his paintings depict the places and objects of his past, in a naïve but realistic style, such as seem the more accurately to reflect a child’s vision. Similarly, he makes installations of objects so carefully worked and weathered that it is difficult to tell if they are fake or genuine.
Art Class is an installation of assembled painted objects, a recreation of Qiu Xiaofei’s teenage art classes, derived from memory. Leaving one side of the easels deliberately bare reveals his technical skill, as well as wit, and teases us into mistaking an object for the ‘real thing’ rather than the contemporary reworking it is. In depicting his past Qiu Xiaofei is recalling a personal experience that is also political, in recording the lost history which has defined him. Art Class is a striking example of the turn in contemporary art towards an apparently genuine attempt to reflect upon one’s personal place in the world, whilst at the same time humorously undermining the very nature of the real.