Hong Kong – Zhang Xiaogang: “Oil On Paper” at Pace Gallery Hong Kong Through July 12th, 2014

July 6th, 2014

Zhang Xiaogang, The Prisoner of Book No. 5 (2014), Courtesy of Pace Gallery
Zhang Xiaogang, The Prisoner of Book No. 5 (2014), Courtesy of Pace Gallery

One of the major artists tied to the recent boom of Chinese contemporary art, Zhang Xiaogang has gained some impressive recognition in the last decade, proven in particular by his recent auction record.  Referring to certain Western styles of Surrealism and German Expressionism, Ziaogang has been delivering a body of visually captivating figurative paintings, building a signature style from hybridized forms of the subliminal and the physical in human consciousness.Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong
Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

Regarded by many as his breakthrough in the international arena, Xiaogong’s widely known Bloodlines: Big Family series was exhibited at the 1995 Venice Biennale, introducing his signature painting technique: touching upon the issues of community, individuality and shared history through personal memory. Depicting similar yet distinct eyes staring into the emptiness in front of grey and dark colored backgrounds, the faces in the series are the reflections of the artist’s own family photographs. Dressed in identical Mao era outfits, these figures of different ages are connected with almost invisible thin red lines, representing the interconnections- and disconnections- within a family.

Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong
Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

On view until July 12th at Pace Gallery’s new Hong Kong location is Xiaogang’s new body of work. Revisiting the subconscious, remembrance of the past and contemplation of the surreal are among the ideas the artist draws inspiration from. Referring to the European style of painting that left a major impression on the artist during a stay in Germany, Xiaogang orchestrates his figures to emphasize their existentialist dilemmas and emotional fragilities.  Constructing dream-like ambiguous stories maneuvering around reality and fiction, Xiaogang’s paintings depict human figures in different positions and environments, infusing a strong sense of surrealism into his argument, while narrating an array of visual narratives.  Among his characters are a yellow-headed man curled up on a sofa, shadowed by a dried tree.  In another a girl with a cast and a boy are quietly sitting on stools, while nearby a naked man floats over a body of water full of TVs, radios and other devices.

Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong
Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

Xiaogang’s melancholy and ambigiuously-charged paintings stand out as silent tellers of stories coming from unknown lands. The familiarity and the estrangement they work towards simultaneously transfer a range of distinct emotions to every viewer; while bringing forth individual memories of the past for each viewer.

Zhang Xiaogang: Oil On Paper is on view at Pace Hong Kong Through July 12, 2014.

Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

Zhang Xiaogang at Pace Hong Kong (Installation View) Courtesy of Pace Hong Kong

—O.C. Yerebakan

*All images are the courtesy of Pace Gallery Hong Kong.

Related Link:
Pace Gallery [Exhibition Page]
“Pace Hong Kong to Open with Zhang Xiaogang Show” [ArtInfo]