The son of a known Chinese drama director and a very famous actress, Maleonn grew up in an artistic environment, where he began to study art when only 11 years old. After graduating from the Fine Arts College of Shanghai University in 1995 where he studied painting, Maleonn went on to become a director of short films including television advertisements known for their edgy creativity. In 2004, the artist turned to photography-based art and mixed-media works as well as, more recently, installation works and painting. Combining his theater background with his earlier career as a director for commercials he carefully plans the settings and customs for his photographs. He is not interested in creating something contemporary but wants to give his personal ideas and remembrances a place to unfold.
His series Nostalgia shows male youths in a kind of army uniform (designed by Maleonn himself) in front of a melancholic landscape, whose soft colors increase the somehow insecure and melancholic feeling that lives in his photographs. Sometimes alone or in groups do they represent the artists childhood remembrances, when as a boy he wanted to be dressed the same way as the local scamps who were called “War Guys.” The images represent “the missing of those innocent days, the longing for the love and freedom which haven’t appeared yet, the misunderstanding of heroism, the once belief in many things that eventually disillusioned. When the vision appears, I of course thought of the once important set of dress. At that time I had just my moustache, and my independent working mind. So that moment is really important for me.”
Maleonn’s work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, UK, at the Washington Art Fair, Diaporama Photo Festival in France, at the 7th San Francisco International Photographic Art Exposition and at the MOCA, NY and the Zendai MOMA in Shanghai.