oil on canvas
280 x 320 cm
White Horse Story (2015) is one of a number of works depicting scenes of nomadic life in Tibet and Mongolia. In the centre of the composition two horses – a piebald white and a chestnut – rear up, their nostrils flared and teeth bared. Under grey storm clouds they loom over a crowd of people in ethnic costume, with yurts and colourful tents in the background providing a further indication of the ‘exotic’ context. Developed from a looser, more expressive work on paper depicting a similar battle between stallions, White Horse Story was painted in response to a news story of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, being sent two piebald horses as a gift from Outer Mongolia. Qin remembered dramatic rearing horses painted by Rubens and Delacroix, but there is also something of a 1930s feel to the work, evident in the carefully delineated forms and exaggerated light and shadow. Behind the obvious dramatic energy and art historical references of this frozen moment is another, more troubling narrative: a subtle allusion to rumours that fly around the Chinese internet about ruthless struggles for political power in Beijing.