In his artistic work, Pu Jie uses fragments of collective memory as well as his personal experience to tell of contemporary existence in the shadow of China’s recent past. Without falling into the trap of nostalgia or memory loss, he refers to life in the fast-growing metropolis, whose imagery is a dazzling conglomerate of eroticism, political propaganda and ancient myths. Its large-format canvases are determined by monochrome coloured surfaces in red, yellow and blue. Instead of the classical central perspective, a generous collage of figures and texts arranges the image composition. This serves as a background for further representations, the contours of which are usually painted in a striking way. Pu Jie combines these different image layers with an aesthetic expression that is a mixture of pop art and comics. with his works, he takes a position on a wide range of topics and elaborates the illusory aspects of the mediated everyday reality of a rapidly changing social shift.
In an attempt to illustrate the gap and the constant change, as well as the resulting incoherentness of life, Pu Jie combines seemingly contradictory narratives and memories. By focusing on Shanghai’s urbanity, the artist also addresses the “Tabu Ia rasa” strategy, in which entire neighbors are destroyed, which in turn leads to serious social problems. “Modernization” (2001) consists of the charred ruins of a plastic replica of the Pudong Tower in Shanghai, which was set on fire by Pu Jie.