“Plum Flower Patterns” with its long and unbroken scenery delicately made, seems to be the ancient sight, and shows us a lyrical world; however, what Zhang Xiaotao really wants to demonstrate through it is the tragic effect on us by the cruel reality. Superficially, it is as splendid as the full-blood plum flower, but the cruel tragic life story it really reveals is well worthy of our deep thought.
– Wang Chunchen
In the process of micro-narrative Zhang Xiaotao’s art displays rich nature of life, and his conscious sympathy, awareness of tragedy, and humanistic touch for survival circumstances, bring the audience with powerful hardness and sharpness, because he learns life not only by stopping to recognize a certain thing, and by taking life as materials pushing his narrative plots, but by lifting life itself to a form of utterance and giving it a unique art atmosphere and aesthetic dimension. He seems to have found sensitively the poetic nature of life itself, and many mediocre-like statements, actions and things could be activated in his micro-narrative expanding. So we can conclude that from 1990s to now, the relationship between Zhang Xiaotao’s art context and his experimental art demonstrates the evolution of his art idea, oriental wisdom, intellectual nature, and witnesses or concentrates the context of the development of Chinese contemporary experimental art.
– Feng Boyi
“Plum Flower Patterns” Zhang Xiaotao’s Solo Show in White Box Art Museum will be open at 3pm on April 29, 2014. The exhibition curated by critic Mr. Wang Chunchen, and it will display Zhang Xiaotao’s recent works in these years on oil painting, watercolor, photography, video and animation, total of 36 works. The artist Zhang Xiaotao now is the head of New Media Arts Department in Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. He is a one of the outstanding multi-media artists who are active in Chinese contemporary art domain. He has been invited to participate in 55th Venice Biennale . This exhibition will continue for a month until the 1st of June 2014.
Implication of “Plum Flower Patterns”
By Chunchen Wang
China’s realities not only sufficiently remind us of the splendid Chinese culture and history, but also make us realize the importance of the so-called China’s ‘DI QI’,(it means being closely related with the reality, and with the ordinary people in English), which is exactly based on it, and has left a huge impact on our daily life. The widely attention won by today’s China is neither the result of the geographical differences, nor of its splendid past history, but from its intensively large and radical fission which has never before occurred. This radical change in China can only be gradually absorbed and transformed into some constructive factors in the future world. Reality is so close to us and has such an impending effect that we have no time to stop, to have a rest, and to take a little moment to think about it.
Luckily, to a certain extent, artists can do this! Artists’ job is to allow time to become solidified, for they can use their talents to create immortal works to let the beauty stay! They use the artistic eyes, artistic methods, and artistic approaches to present the realities and let them last forever, to make us breath visible, and to let our thoughts be heard. “Plum Flower Patterns”,with its long and unbroken scenery delicately made, seems to be the ancient sight, and shows us a lyrical world; however, what Zhang Xiaotao really wants to demonstrate through it is the tragic effect on us by the cruel reality. Superficially, it is as splendid as the full-blood plum flower, but the cruel tragic life story it really reveals is well worthy of our deep thought. Isn’t this helpless contrast a kind of grimly whimsical?
The true art is not made of its own beauty, but of its essence; without the presence of flesh and skeleton, where is it possible for the skin to exist? This is true for the real art, for the true are is not made of its own superficial beauty, but of its essence! Today’s art could be completely separated from the reality, but could not avoid being connected with the essence of the true reality. “Reality”, in the context of Chinese, has abundant meaning, rich and subtle, complex and direct; it is not only concerned with politics, but also involves human relations; it embodies both the emperor’s strategy, and ordinary people’s disorder. Use Plum Blossom to hint obliquely at the reality, the author attempts to make the complex reality artistic, revealing world ‘s wilderness through wrongly constituting the visual phantoms.
The real plum blossoms no longer exist, but the beauty it reveals will be immortal! The past has gone, but the future is still under our foot!
About the artist
Zhang Xiaotao was born in Hechuan, Chongqing, China in 1970 and graduated from Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1996. He had taught in the School of Arts and Communication of Southwest Jiaotong University from 1996 to 2010. Now he is the Vice-Professor, master’s supervisor and director in the New Media Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute since 2011. He lives and works in Beijing and Chongqing.
Zhang Xiaotao’s exhibitions were held in many important art museums and foundations at home and abroad such as Saatchi Gallery, Rome 21st Century Museum of Modern Arts, Valencia Museum of Modern Arts, Bologna Museum of Modern Arts, Norway 3.14 Foundation, Chengdu Contemporary Art Museum, Guangdong Art Museum, He Xiangning Art Museum, Arthur M.Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University, 55 the Venice biennale,The Asia Pacific Triennial , Prague Biennial, Guangzhou Triennial, Netherlands Film Festival, Tokyo International Animation Fair, Asia Animation Contest and so on. He is one of the active and outstanding cross-media artists in China contemporary art. His works involves in painting, photography, animation and installation. He always focuses on the torment and struggle of our souls that lies behind China’s legendary modernization. This is a unique experience with both hope and destruction which is very complicated in China. He used cross-media to concerns about the paradox between social change and personal spiritual history and attempts to convert the personal experiences into public experiences. The concept of epidemiology is both pathological and sociological, both individual and social. Each generation faces a different predicament, and he hopes to present these complex epidemiological reports. The German director of the DOCUMENTA 6 (1977) and the DOCUMENTA 8 (1987) Dr.Manfred Schneckenburger considered him as a marvelous artist because of his research approach of infinitesimal narration. NHK and CCTV were interviewed him in 2004 and 2010 for his achievements. He also won many awards like Prize of Young Artist 2008, Best Technique Award in Asia 2011. His works have been collected by museums, foundations and collectors at home and abroad.
About the exhibition
Duration: 29 Apr – 1 Jun 2014
Venue: White Box Museum of Art
Opening Reception: 29 Apr 2014
Courtesy of the artist and White Box Museum of Art, for further information please visit www.798whitebox.com.