Zhang Xiaogang, "Boy No.1", 2012; Painted bronze,15-3/4”x11”x8-11/16”

Zhang Xiaogang, “Boy No.1″, 2012; Painted bronze,15-3/4″x11″x8-11/16”

A two-venue exhibition of new work by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang is going to be held from March 29 through April 27, 2013 at Pace Gallery, New York. It features painted bronze sculptures and new oil paintings. This is the artist’s second exhibition at Pace in New York. A public reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, March 28 from 6 to 8 PM. A catalogue with an essay by Jonathan Fineberg, Gutgsell Professor of Art History and University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, will accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition features Zhang Xiaogang’s first series of painted bronzes, which render in three dimensions the prototypical characters who inhabit his paintings. Though the sculptures are an extension of Zhang’s portraits, the figures can be classified into psychological types: youthful and idealistic. Sculpted with great clarity in a political-realist style that echoes the state-sanctioned sculptures of the Cultural Revolution, the bronzes range in size from six inches to over five feet tall.

The coolness of the sculptures is further transformed by the painted surfaces. On each sculpture, color has been painted with active brushwork, along with occasional patches reminiscent of the stains on old photographs that were first seen in the paintings of Zhang’s “Bloodline”series of the 1990s.

Painted in a completely unrealistic manner, the color is influenced by Tang glazes and the polychrome sculptures of ancient Egypt, including the sculpted head of Nefertiti. The pupils are painted dark, making the formal figures seem alive, their eyes blazing with un expected realism.

The exhibition also includes four new oil paintings that continue Zhang’s inquiries into the domestic interiors to which people returned after the Cultural Revolution, and in which the artist cam of age. Three of the paintings contain archetypal family figures-a mother, a father, a child-representing the past and future in the limbo that is the present. A fourth painting, White Shirt and Blue Trousers(2012), combines elements of past and present, placing a traditional element of Chinese paintings-a branch of plum blossoms-alongside a light bulb, a symbol of modernity. As Fineberg writes, the painting “concerns the ‘still life’ in which memory, imagination, creative play, his cultural history, and the present may be arranged and rearranged.

Zhang Xiaogang, "My Father", 2012; Oil on canvas, 140x220cm

Zhang Xiaogang, “My Father”, 2012; Oil on canvas, 140x220cm

Zhang Xiaogang, "My Mother", 2012; Oil on canvas, 200x260cm

Zhang Xiaogang, “My Mother”, 2012; Oil on canvas, 200x260cm

Zhang Xiaogang, "The Position of Father", 2013; Oil on canvas, 140x220cm

Zhang Xiaogang, “The Position of Father”, 2013; Oil on canvas, 140x220cm

Zhang Xiaogang, "White Shirt and Blue Trousers", 2012; Oil on canvas, 140x200cm

Zhang Xiaogang, “White Shirt and Blue Trousers”, 2012; Oil on canvas, 140x200cm

Zhang Xiaogang(b. 1958, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China) graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing in 1982. During the next three decades, he established himself as one of the most important Chinese contemporary painters, whose figurative works delve into the human psyche, exploring personal and collective memory in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. Zhang Xiaogang lives and works in Beijing. He has been represented by Pace since 2007.

For more information about Zhang Xiaogang, please contact Sarah Goulet, sgoulet@pacegallery.com/+1 212 421 8987.

About the exhibition

Address: 508 & 510 West 25th Street, New York

Duration: March 29 – April 27, 2013

Opening reception: Thursday, March 28, 6 to 8 PM

Courtesy of Zhang Xiaogang and Pace Gallery, for further information please visit www.pacegallery.com.

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