Yan Heng’s paintings are figurative and narrative and trigger both irony and unease. Their subjects are derived from daily life, drawn from his emotions and personal experiences of living in a modern Chinese society, a digital world and under the domination of global consumerism. His works reflect on and explore the consequences of these phenomena. As a response to the profusion of objects and information and to the importance of the digital world, Yan Heng implants mechanical items in his works, especially computer parts, but also fans, refrigerators, etc... The artist was struck by the sense of transience and dismay he felt when his computer motherboard burnt out in 2008 and many of his artistic creations are a reaction to that. Mechanical items are representations of the artist’s criticism of the digital world, where senses are replaced by digital devices and communication becomes virtual. Born and raised in a small industrial town in the northwest of China, Yan Heng’s childhood memories consist of noisy factories and mines. The artist confesses that this experience is at the source of his use of mechanical items in his works, notably wire meshes in his paintings akin to those used in factories. The resulting works convey a sense of the surreal and evade direct readings. They are indeed intricate, combining scientific and literary language, mixing anachronistic objects that are either representative of Communist political emblems or of the new consumer society. The references the depicted objects convey are thus challenged by the combination and rendered useless by the fictional nature of their association. The composition, often bisected, disrupts the spectator’s expectations and carries a sense of the poetic and the theatrical.