BACKForeword I |  LvPeng

It takes determination and stamina to carry out research in our current fast pace lifestyle. However,

for contemporary artists, their continuous experiments and works need to be presented through

exhibitions; whereas, for critics and curators, the exhibition itself only consists of one component of

the research. Thus, how to efficiently use time and opportunities to study and analyze the work of an

artist become strategies we need to consider adopting today.

I met He Sen at the end of the 1980s. At the time, he was a student at the Sichuan Art Academy. It

might have been in 1989 when He Sen graduated from the academy and became a high school art

teacher at the Chongqing 40th High School. At the time, I was the vice-secretary of the Sichuan

Playwrights Association. He Sen came to my office to present me with his portfolio and those of his

classmates’. In short, they no longer wished to work at state assigned positions and prefer to become

independent artists. For this reason, they inquired if there would be institutions (art galleries)

and sponsors who may support their painting careers. Although there were slim possibilities to be

supported by art institutions at that time, He Sen nevertheless, resigned from his teaching position

in 1991 and began the life of an independent artist. In 1992, He Sen participated in Guangzhou

Biennale with the work Triptych in a Landscape Shelter. In 1993, his Two Men on a Chair, Happy

Times, Youth and City, and The Playing Piano were selected to participate in the Post-89 China’s

New Art exhibition held in Hong Kong. Thereafter, He Sen fully entered the field of contemporary

art. Two decades has passed, He Sen has made remarkable achievements in his practice through

important transitional phases.

Between 2004 and 2005 was a period marking a new beginning in He Sen’s artistic practice where

he began to fully excavate resources from his own cultural background. In the two years prior to this

transition, He Sen was clearly aware of the direction in which his future should steer, although large

numbers of his paintings on the “degenerative beauty” were widely appraised. Nevertheless, he veered

his artistic practice into a new phase of experiments. From 2005 to the present, He Sen has completed

a large number of new paintings in these six years of experimentations. To a certain degree, these

artworks now offer a comprehensive representation that urges us for reflection and research on this


In consideration of the comprehensive content of the exhibition 'Conversing with the Moon' and

archival materials, as well as the necessity to study He Sen’s artistic practice, with the assistance of Li

Guohua, we have compiled critical essays (including interview transcripts) into a published volume.

Undoubtedly, He Sen is an artist that represents unique value in contemporary Chinese art, for

which, our task at present becomes more pressing.