Xie Nanxing’s radical paintings challenge tradition, using humour and absurdity to reflect on isolation and environmental neglect. Xie is a radical experimental painter who challenges the traditions and conventions of painting taught within art schools. His practice often turns to investigative psychology to question the true nature of things. For his presentation in the Sigg Prize 2023 exhibition, Xie uses humour and the absurd in three paintings to reflect on his experience with social isolation and restrictions during the pandemic. Titled ‘The Ballad of Pieter Picking His Teeth’, the work associates the act of ‘tooth-picking’ with human secretion and excretion. One painting features a vacuum lorry spewing raw sewage. On another canvas, a twisted, monstrous being roams the sewers and is covered in vague Chinese characters. The composition of the third painting is inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s ‘The Blind Leading the Blind’, though Xie’s work features roast ducks heading into a well in a flower bush. Together, the abstractions express the artist’s pandemic-induced malaise as well as his dissatisfaction towards environmental neglect in the world.