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Shanghai's Urban Sprawl Gets Abstracted Into Colorful Vector Art

Lu Xinjian's "City Stream" illustrations depict Shanghai's urban infrastructure through gorgeous geometric forms.

by Beckett Mufson
Sep 8 2014, 4:30pm

Images via

Chinese painter Lu Xinjian offers abstract visions of city streets in his latest bout of urban impressionism, City Stream. Exhibited at the Art Labor Gallery in Shanghai, City Stream is Xinjian's construct of the basic geometry of urban locations, actualized in his colorful vector art style.

In order to make the paintings, Xinjian traces aerial views of streets and architecture throughout Shanghai. He fills in these tracings with blocky shapes similar to those he developed throughout his previous works like City DNA and Invisible Poem. At first glance each piece in City Stream seems like a chaotic jumble of these squares, circles, and rectangles, but as you continue to gaze at the piece, a bustling metropolis slowly realizes itself, becoming a highway roundabout or the underside of a bridge. The images look like an afterimage of a scene still blinking in your retinas after having rapidly shut your eyes.

It's interesting to note that Xinjian's abstracted Shanghai has no place for humanity among the jumble of bright colors and urban energy, framing the city itself as a manifestation of humanity. We think this is amazingly appropriate—what is human life but a big jumble of shapes and colors that doesn't seem to make sense at first, but somehow totally does?

Check out the images from City Stream below:

For more of Xinjian's urban-influenced artworks, visit his website here.

h/t Designboom

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Tagged:
urban
Creators
Illustration
abstract
city
Lu Xinjian
vector art