In the summer of 2005, by chance, I was introduced to Sebastian Heiner by Ling Jian, a Chinese artist living in Germany. Heiner extended a warm invitation fo my wife and me to visit his studio in Suojiacun. When entering his studio, we were stunned by the sight of a large pile of used paint tubes, tissue paper, fly swatters, mops and comps, things that are onmipresent in a farm produce market. We had visited many studios before, but none was in such a mess. The foremost impression on me was “madness”.
“Meine Gedanken schweifen immer wieder weit fort und ich muss mich konzentrieren, damit sie mir nicht zu lange in Beijing verweilen.”, schreibt Sebastian Heiner in einem Weihnachtsgruss aus dem fernen Berlin. Es ist diese dynamische, abenteuerliche und so unbekannt bleibende Millionenstadt, die ihm nicht aus dem Kopf gehen will.
The exhibitons and seminars of abstract paintings held in recent years seem to herald the flourishing of abstract art in China, which, as many signs indicate is about to happen sooner or later. Though abstract art, the last symbol of western modernism, no longer enjoys the glory it had in the 1950s and 60s, it remains an indispensable element in today¡äs art as a classic example of modernist art. Its features of elite culture, whoch are due to its formal aesthetics, do not mean that it takes the isolation from the masses as its principle. On the contrary, the abstract art that is the prodict of a specific period invariably reflects its progress.