The Pace Gallery founded by Arne Glimcher in Boston in 1960, now has a new branch in Hong Kong. It opened with an exhibition of oils on paper by Zhang Xiaogang, one of the most famous contemporary Chinese artists. The iconic gallery—with quarters in New York, London, Beijing and Zuoz (Switzerland) has represented many of the most important international artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The show will be on view from May 13 until July 12, 2014.
ZHANG XIAOGANG. The Prisoner of Book No. 5.
Xiaogang‘s work moves between personal experience and memory. Through figurative scenes, the artist is able to narrate his own individual story and bring us close to his sensitive world. In his works, the dialectic between history and reality, culture and society or collective and personal memories are always present. Xiaogang likes to explore the space that exists between the individual experience and the private memory.
Unquestionably, Zhang Xiaogang is one of the most important and internationally renowned contemporary Asian artists. In 1995, at the 46th Venice Biennale, the Chinese artist exhibited his series Bloodline: Big Family, with themes that will become recurrent throughout his career, such as memory, writing, personal emotions and public narrative.
In his beginnings, he drew from the essence of German Expressionism and Surrealism, using religious and philosophical ideas and paying attention to the spiritual property of painting. Now, at Pace Hong Kong, the artist uses oil on paper, integrating the Western notion of surrealism with the Eastern conception of classical art.
ZHANG XIAOGANG. Big Woman with Little Man.
Zhang Xiaogang was born in 1958 in Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province, in southern China. In 1966, at the start of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang was only 8 years old. It is in his childhood memories where the origin of his art resides. His mother, Qi Ailan, taught him and his brothers to draw as a way to keep them entertained and out of trouble.
“We were given paper and crayons to draw at home,” recalls the prestigious Chinese creator. “I became more and more interest in art. I had a lot of time because I did not have to go to school. My interest increased. After I became an adult and I never gave up. That’s how I started drawing. ”
ZHANG XIAOGANG. Pine and Medicine.
At 18, Zhang was sent to “reeducation camp” until the collapse of the Cultural Revolution. Later, he was accepted into the Art Institute of Sichuan in Chongqing, where he earned his degree in 1982, specializing in oil painting. Currently, Zhang Xiaogang lives and works in Beijing and his curriculum boasts over 19 solo exhibitions and nearly 150 group shows. ■