Those who live between reality and ideal life

By Zhuang Chen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 2, 2014
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Li Xianting was among the first group of people who moved to Songzhuang and established a film fund there. [photo by Zhuang Chen]


As more and more artists moved to Songzhuan, it became the locus of an extraordinary cultural phenomenon and paved the way for freedom and the independence of art. Liu Luyun, now a famous female artist in the area, was a retired worker when she moved to Songzhuang. Her portraits of the famous 1980s Chinese singer, Deng Lijun, were exhibited in Songzhuang on May 10.

"As each painter lives close with one another, I visit their studios very often and learn from them," Liu said. "I admire those who can express their feelings and sum the world up in a vivid way."

Another reason artists chose Songzhuang was its low real estate price. "It cost me 30,000 yuan (US$5,000) to purchase a yard in 2005," said Tao Sirui, a university professor who mainly engages in abstract and oil painting. These days, 30,000 yuan cannot afford even a square meter of an apartment on Fourth Ring Road, which is just outside Beijing's prime real estate area. Tao said despite the cost, she still commutes from the city to Songzhuang on the weekends because that's where she can create.

Empty beer cans act as the doorbell, announcing visitors to the home of Yang Yida. His small abode is covered from floor to roof with calligraphy. He painted them himself.

"I wanted to create an artistic space," Yang explained.

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