“My thought always brings me further and further… I must drive it back, or I will be detainded in Beijing for too long time”, Sebastian Heiner writes in a Christmas card far from Berlin. Its Beijing, the vigorous, adventurous and strange metropolis with a population of more than ten millions that keeps lingering in his mind. In this city, the rapid modernization is on the upswing. Roads with serveral lanes are croweded with cars and high buildings, glittering hotels and modern shopping malls on two sides are soaring into the sky. Densely populated Beijing is a sign of contemporary conurbation, stretching rampantly and ruthlessly. Inhabitants here can hardly endure it many more in the realest sense. This is the first impression on people who come to this city the first time.

Further oservation will make one find the great contradition hidden in this Chinese metropolise. In the most crowded space, the co-existence of the poor and the rich, the beautiful and the ugly, the outrageous and the well disciplined attracts the amazed foreigners. However, China has been dreaming of building up a classless society following as the maximum programme in its history. Nowadays Beijing is incomparable to any other city in the world in that the polarization is the fact now, with the locals of this city on one polar and immigrants from the rural areas on the other. People on one class have more and more opportunities and can benefit from the modern living standard which those on the other can hardly pursue the rapid development.

Everyday, Sebastian Heiner starts off from his residence in the prosperous Wang Jing Quarter, a district out of the urban areas, goes through the pooe Suo Jia Cun an finallly comes to his workshop set up in this country. It is a journey from a world to another. What come first into his eyes are spacious roads with many lanes and rows of elegant and imposing villas and international restaurants on two sides. However, when he goes across the next junction to enter a narrow lane, what meets his eyes is a crowed place you can never imagine. Low houses temporarily set up huddle together, among which are cramped groceries and shabby barbershops here or there. Human nature and apparent contentment shown on the Chinese faces inspire a certain kind of fever, to which no outsider can be immune. Expressed by the co-existence of greatly different life styles and architectures, the charm of contradiction brings rich resources for sociological analysis as well as for art inspiration. Sebastian Heiner shows his perspective of this vigorous and paradoxical city in his works. By use of expression capacity of the dense colors and joys in life, he moves the clashing artistic forms of abstract and concrete expressionism onto the canvas. Soft, human colors are interweaving and changing with cold and hard hues, showing strong sense of force in their movements and illuminations. Who can be reminded of any other city except Beijing, the metropolis composed of long and dark streets enveloped in grey fog and dotted with various advertisments at night?

Patrick Dreher
October 2007, Beijing