Ce Jian’s works deal with the physicality of bodies and the illusionism through which they are represented. She draws on historical pictorial traditions and reformulates them in the context of a contemporary digital visuality. In doing so, she explores the artificial structure and aesthetics of the technically transformed body, be it a human figure or an object, using different approaches to highlight the role of distortion and hybridisation.

Seeing painting as a historically rich medium in which both knowledge and emotions are encoded, Ce Jian aims for a visual language that reflects the complexity of today’s image worlds. Throughout her practice she emphasises the dual existence of painting as a material body and a virtual window. Set in a compositional framework, her paintings unfold their own physicality through the texture of their layered surface, which combines clear geometry with expressive gestures and colour fields with delicate drawings.

In her recent works Ce Jian creates hybrid figures named after mythological beasts from European culture. The fantastic creatures are modelled on the anatomy of industrial robots, merging the technical components with elements from art history and natural history. With metamorphic fluidity, Ce Jian explores the boundaries between the human and non-human, the biological and mechanical. Her focus lies especially on the gendered concept of monstrosity both in classical mythology and modern technology, where the sphinx and the cyborg meet in their role as threatening (demonic) females, defined by their powerful composite bodies and uncanny intelligence. The connecting arc between history and futurism runs like a constant through her work.

Ce Jian was born in 1984 in Shandong Province, China and moved to Germany in 1988. She studied at Goldsmiths College, London from 2006-2007 and graduated in 2008 from the Berlin University of the Arts. She also earned a Magister Artium degree in Art History from the Humboldt-Universität and Freie Unversität Berlin in 2009. She received a PhD in Art and Visual History from Humboldt-Universität of Berlin in 2017. Her recent solo exhibitions include Paradise, WHITE SPACE, Beijing, China (2021); Words of Art, Yell Space, Shanghai, China (2019); Armada, WHITE SPACE, Beijing, China (2018); Bannermen, Gallery SU, Seoul, Korea (2018); Transeuropa, Whiteconcepts, Berlin, Germany (2017); CAPTCHA, Galerie Philine Cremer, Dusseldorf, Germany (2017); The Grand Illusion, WHITE SPACE, Beijing, China (2016); Elephant, NON Berlin, Berlin, Germany (2016). Recent group exhibitions include From Body to Dream, Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel (2023); Painting Unsettled, UCCA Edge, Shanghai, China (2023); The Situation is Excellent, GLUE, Berlin, Germany (2022); The Hearing Trumpet, Galerie Marguo, Paris, France (2022); Sonderlage, Lage Egal, Berlin, Germany (2021); El Lissitzky’s Rooms, Surplus Space, Wuhan, China (2020); A World in a Grain of Sand: Mapping Shapes and Sites for Social Deometries, Atlantis, Sanya, China (2018); Art Patrons, Qiao Space, Shanghai, China (2018); The Second Self, Peres Projects, Berlin, Germany (2017). She currently lives and works in Berlin.