b.1983 Changchun, Jilin Province, China
Cai Lei’s works explore the relationship between illusion and space. From his interest in planarity, he carves out an illusory conceptual space which oscillates between the second and third dimension for his creations. Working in both painting and mixed media sculptural relief, light plays an important factor in enhancing this illusion of depth. Painted spaces of interior hallways or corners simultaneously protrude and recede depending on the viewer’s experience of the work.
Cai Lei graduated in 2015 with a Master Degree in Sculpture at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. An award-winning young artist from the 80s generation. He has exhibited internationally including the Yangtze Art Museum (Chongqing), Foundation Taylor (Paris), Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), CAFA Museum (Beijing), Poly Art Museum (Beijing), Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art (USA), Today Art Museum (Beijing), and Museum of Contemporary Art Bonn (Germany).
Recent solo exhibitions include “Supremacist Space”, Tang Contemporary Art, Seoul (Korea, 2022); “Block”, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing (China, 2020); “23 Square Meters”, Whitestone Gallery, Taiwan, (China, 2018); “Échelle des plans”, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing (China, 2016); “In Ambiguous Sight, Unaccompanied”, Tang Contemporary Art (Hong Kong SAR, 2016). Recent Group exhibitions include “Extended Theatre - Nanhai 1st Public Art Exhibition”, Nanhai Qiandeng Lake Park (China, 2020); “Roots of Clouds Adrift —Temporality: OCAT Nanjing Public Art Project”, OCAT Nanjing (China, 2019-2020); “Wall Space: As Defining Boundary of Modern Painting”, Phoenix Seewell International Art Center, Fuzhou (China, 2019); "Motif and material”, Tang Contemporary Art (Hong Kong SAR, 2017); “Among”, Museum of Contemporary Art Bonn, Bonn (Germany, 2015), etc.
Motif and Material 素-材
Group exhibition: Cai Lei, Shen Liang, Wang Jun, Wang Ningde, Yan Bing, Zang Kunkun
3.20 - 4.22, 2017
Échelle des Plans
12.10,2016 - 2.28, 2017
In Ambiguous Sight, Unaccompanied
2.25 - 3.18, 2016
Press / News
Bao Dong | The Space Grammar
Cai Lei’s sculpture has always shown an interest in flatness, an interest whichsurpasses even his interest in volume and space. For instance, in earlier series such as Us and Them, what most attracts the audience’s attention is not the shape of the sculptures but the undulating textures of their surfaces. Cai Lei has turned texture into a language and developed it to its extreme, as seen in the cracks and wrinkles in his portrayal of elderly people and his use of richly textured leather.
Texture is tactile. In art historian Heinrich Wölfflin’s classification of forms of artistic vision, the tactile has itsorigins in sculpture, because when people view sculptures, they are using their eyes to “caress” and “touch” the undulating volume and folded space of the shape. When this tactile aspect is consciously grasped, itdevelops into a respect for materiality, and so modern sculpture no longer seeks to cover the texture of thematerials, and in fact even purposefully highlights it.