Compared with his previous works dealing with the relationship of invasion and threat between human being and the city, Tu Hongtao’s new works highlighten his way of narration and endow the artist with a balancing role, rather than a narrator. In The Desire of Plants, the spatial relationship between plants is not distinct but blurred. It becomes an open structure where expansion means more possibilities. Therefore, the subjects are given more freedom to drift, which is undoubtedly more disturbing.

Tu Hongtao began to destroy the connection by making use of the abstract negative space, thus allowing more space to the small items. This technique, which has a lot in common with the popular item-enlarging technique in the Chinese tradition, enables him to distinguish the space by means of abstract modeling. This way, the fragmented narration of urban sentimentality gives way to a new dimension of dialogue with the remote time and space, so that the traditional and natural elements become more conspicuous.The dispersed and involved images and details are therefore checked by what he called “the negative space”. The blank background, however, does not signify emptiness but extension of the mind, in other words, transcendence of the material quality of time. While offering more freedom to the individual, these works lead us further into our experience of the reality.

Born in 1976, Tu Hongtao impresses the art world and the audience with his unique quality as an artist, such as the “bad boy” in him, light and lively brushwork, as well as the urban “live like” enhanced by the scenic setting and the narrative style of stream-of-consciousness. In reaction to the pictorial deficiencies common to the previous generation, he tries to “avoid being a repeated symbol” by highlighting thematically the participation in “the current of flowing time” while keeping certain distance — “enjoy it while criticizing” and “taste the pain while feeling happiness”, as he put it. It is typical of the situation and stand of the young generation, seemingly contradictory but extremely true. In their view, the absolute binary opposition is abandoned, the moral judgment is suspended, and art, as a text, begins to show its autonomy and capacity to produce pleasurable feeling in the aesthetic game.

Date: Nov 25, 2011 – Feb 19, 2012

Opening: Nov 25, 2011, 16:00, Friday

Venue: Iberia Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, China)

Curator: Zhu Zhu

Artist: Tu Hongtao

Organizer: Iberia Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, China)

Courtesy of the artist and Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, for more information please visit

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