Su was born in 1949 in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province. In 1965, he joined the School of Art and Crafts in Wuhan, and from 1985 he studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Throughout that time his work inclined towards social realism. After receiving an Arts and Culture scholarship in 1987, he attended the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf. First-hand experience of avant-garde Western art radically affected his outlook. While in Beijing, Su studied the techniques of traditional painting and accumulated his abilities in expressive techniques. In Germany, he strived to break away from the skills he mastered in Beijing, and developed a visual language rich in personal experience, life observation, and abstract symbols. During the 1990s his work became progressively less figurative, and following his return to China in 2003 it has increasingly focused on essential characteristics of colour, shape and surface. Su unrestrainedly experimented with oil, lacquer, linen, wood, etc, as a substitute for oil on canvas, where lacquer and linen are in a purely structural and balanced composition. These elements alone underpin the creation of paintings whose self- contained presence is both affective and mysterious.