World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 43 – Sofie Xie

The Amsterdam Art’Otel showed in the first months of this year the work of Sophie Xie, an artist from China. Sofie Xie was born in Wenzhou, a major port city in the eastern province of Zhejiang. She comes from an artistic family. In 1999 she left China to move to the Netherlands. This has greatly influenced her art.

Sofie Xie got the art spoon-fed. Several family members were artistically active. In 1975, the city of Wenzhou opened an art studio. A number of artists was asked to participate in this. One of them was Sofie Xie. The traditonal art craft was central. Sofie wanted to become proficient in Wenzhounese coloured mudpaintings  and fresco paintings on wood. It proved to be a very educational experience. By making the traditional work she discovered her own style and her central theme.

The purity of the past

In brief, it’s about going from ‘the distant past to to distant future’, if it was up to her a beautiful future. So she told interviewer Lulu Wang, the writer, and the audience at the opening of the exhibition in the Amsterdam Art’Otel. Sofie Xie: ‘What I love to show in my work are images with a connection with the distant past, ancient China, and a continuation into the future. It’s a little hard to explain, but recently I came across a few pictures of a Chinese fashion show with the 79-year-old actor Wang Deshun in an important role. I was very surprised, because this is exactly the feeling I want to bring out in my art. I am very happy that this man has the same inspiration as I have, a surreal image that shows the most beautiful and clean aspects of people and nature in the distant past and in the distant future.

When I ask her why this theme is so important for her, she says: ‘Because this leads my heart to search for the simple purity of the past. And, if you’ve gotten this into the grip, to combine it with the hope of a wonderful future. I hope that the thousands of years old Chinese culture will reappear. I hope the world will be filled with peace and love, that people will hurt each other less and care more about each other. I hope heaven and earth will be cleaner, that everything returns to its natural and original state.’

Yang Lian’s poetry

Sofie Xie’s recent work stresses her continuous desire to be at home between China and Europe. A constant craving for the Netherlands and an eternal longing for China. Sofie Xie lives the culture of her homeland, China, but her art is shaped by life in the Netherlands. Meditation is important for her. She is inspired by nature, music, dance and poetry, especially Yang Lian’s poetry. ‘All these incentives stimulate my curiosity and touch the deepest parts of my soul and my sense of colour.’ The techniques used by Sofie Xie range from brushes to fingers, from kitchen towels to spoons. ‘Actually, all that I have around me.’

Since her arrival in the Netherlands Sofie was inpired by the beauty of many things in het immediate surroundings. Xie: ‘And THAT is what I want to paint. I want to show the beauty I have seen in the Netherlands, the precious feelings from my heart, and how much I miss my hometown.’ Beyond this Sofie wants to show the world her desire for peace for all organisms on earth.

Cottage on an allotment garden

Sofie Xie: Earlier on I painted fresco paintings on wood, that was my specialty. Now I paint temporary art with Chinese roots. I am a very happy artist. Every time I’m painting, I feel happy and I never get tired. I feel completely merged with the colours. Painting has become an indispensable part of my life. I love life, I love art, I love nature and its purity, all these things are my inspiration. When painting, I feel that I am separated from the turmoil of the World. Everything changes from very complex to very simple, unrest has turned into peace, it helps to broaden my heart. I makes me very happy and it gives my great satisfaction. I am quite often alone, but I never feel lonely.’

A deceased Chinese artist who was then 99 years old, told her: ‘If you want to be a good artist, you should first be a good person.’ Xie: ‘A well-known Chinese saying goes: of a painting you can see what kind of person the artist is. This caused me to think what kind of person I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. I want to be a good artist who deserves to be an artist. Before I started with contemporary art, I lived in a wooden cottage on an allotment garden surrounded with all kinds of trees and flowers. Birds sang all day. When the raindrops fell on the leaves and the wind blew through the trees, I heard very beautiful sounds. Flowers came and went, very quietly, each in turn. The tranquility of nature made me realize what really matters. It became the basis of my philosophy of life.’




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