•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
Saatchi Art
Saatchi Store
Current Exhibition

Zhang Xiaogang EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

A Big Family
Zhang Xiaogang
A Big Family

1995

Oil on canvas

179 x 229 cm
Inspired by family photos from the Cultural Revolution period, as well as the European tradition of surrealism, Zhang Xiaogang’s paintings engage with the notion of identity within the Chinese culture of collectivism. Basing his work around the concept of ‘family’ –immediate, extended, and societal – Xiaogang’s portraits depict an endless genealogy of imagined forebears and progenitors, each unnervingly similar and distinguished by minute difference.

Often painted in black and white, Xiaogang’s portraits translate the language of photography into paint. Drawing from the generic quality of formal photo studio poses and greyscale palette, Xiaogang’s figures are nameless and timeless: a series of individual histories represented within the strict confines of formula. The occasional splotches of colour which interrupt his images create aberrant demarcations, reminiscent of birth marks, aged film, social stigma, or a lingering sense of the sitter’s self assertion.

Incorporating the aesthetic of traditional Chinese charcoal drawing, Xiaogang’s style wavers between the exaggeration of animation and stoic flatness. Muted and compliant, Xiaogang’s extended family convey individual identity through their unalterable physical features: too big heads, tiny hands, long noses, and subtle alterations in hairstyle give clues to intimate characteristics and stifled emotions. These dream-like distortions give a complex psychological dimension to Xiaogang’s work, heightening the tension of regulated claustrophobia, and initiating suggestive narrative readings.
Bloodline
Zhang Xiaogang
Bloodline

2005

Oil on canvas

200 x 260 cm
Through his expansive clan of replica characters, Xiaogang questions notions of otherness, difference, and perception. In Bloodline, Xiaogang’s two sitters stare out from the canvas with piercing neutrality, confronting the viewer with an alien gaze worthy of their own unnatural presence; the Asian conception of oneness a stark contrast to the western value of individuality. In this portrait, a father and daughter are represented with perturbing similarity, their expressionless androgyny giving them a futuristic air of superiority that can be read as either spiritual enlightenment or malice.
My Dream: Little General
Zhang Xiaogang
My Dream: Little General

2005

Oil on canvas

200 x 160 cm
Xiaogang’s figures, with their same-same appearance and expression, allude to a disturbing mass psychology. In My Dream: Little General Xiaogang’s image of a boy, dressed in military uniform and naked from the waist down, exemplifies the anxiety between public veneer and private vulnerability, official doctrine and personal conscience. Rendered with a patina aura, Xiaogang’s painting is both dreary and heroic, encapsulating the optimism of a bygone era and its hind-sight failures; the child a nostalgic emblem of corrupted innocence, trapped between the romantic aspiration of the model citizen ideal and its unattainable reality.
Untitled
Zhang Xiaogang
Untitled

2006

Oil on canvas

200 x 260 cm
Xiaogang’s Untitled series magnifies uniformity to uncanny proportions. His paintings of faces, executed in monumental scale, are strangely macabre and dehumanised.
Untitled
Zhang Xiaogang
Untitled

2006

Oil on canvas

200 x 260 cm
Framed with the mug-shot candour of extreme close-ups his figures lack any definitive features; they are the generic archetypes to which all Xiaogang’s figures aspire, triumphs of socially engineered conformity, interchangeable and anonymous.
Untitled
Zhang Xiaogang
Untitled

2006

Oil on canvas

200 x 260 cm
With their visages masked in soft shadows and rendered slightly out of focus, Xiaogang heightens the sense of inconsequential identity; only the eyes are fully illuminated, hollow and clone-like, perfect identikit transplants hallmarking the succession of ductility over will.
Comrade
Zhang Xiaogang
Comrade

2005

Oil on canvas

130 x 220 cm (Diptych)
Often restricted to a black and white palette, Xiaogang’s portraits translate the language of photography into paint. Drawing from the generic quality of formal photo studio poses and greyscale hues, Xiaogang’s figures are nameless and timeless: a series of individual histories represented within the strict confines of formula. In paintings such as Comrade, the occasional splotches of colour which interrupt his images create aberrant demarcations, reminiscent of birth marks, aged film, social stigma, or a lingering sense of the sitter’s self assertion.






Other artists in
THE REVOLUTION CONTINUES: NEW CHINESE ART

Zhang Dali    Zeng Fanzhi    Wang Guangyi    Zheng Guogu    Zhang Haiying    Zhang Hongtu    Zhang Huan    Qiu Jie    Xiang Jing    Shi Jinsong    Fang Lijun    Yue Minjun    Li Qing    Wu Shanzhuan    Shen Shaomin    Li Songsong    Zhan Wang    Liu Wei    Zhang Xiaogang    Zhang Xiaotao    Cang Xin    Shi Xinning    Li Yan    Bai Yiluo    Sun Yuan and Peng Yu    Yin Zhaohui    Feng Zhengjie

Zhang Xiaogang's BIOGRAPHY

Zhang Xiaogang
1958
Born in Kunming, Yunnan province

Lives and works in Beijing


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2000
Max Protetch Gallery, New York

1999
Galerie de France, Paris

1989
Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing


GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2002-03
1st Guangzhou Triennale, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou

2002
Chinese Modernity, Armandao Alvares Penteado Foundation, Sao Paulo
Image is Power,He Xiangning Art Museum,Shenzhen
Paris-Pekin, Espace Cardin,Paris
CHINaRT Museum Kuppersmuhle,Duisburg

2001
The Initial Image: Contemporary Art on Paper, Yibo Gallery, Shanghai
Hot Pot, Kunstnemes Hus, Oslo
Towards a New Image, 20 Years of Contemporary Chinese Painting, National Gallery, Beijing,then Shanghai Art Museum, Sichuan Province Art Museum, Chengdu and Art Museum of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou
Passe-murailles, Musee de Picardie, Amiens
Rouges, Galerie Loft, Paris
C’est Moi, C’est Nous, Galerie de France, Paris

2000
Portraits de Chine Contemporaine, Espace Culturel F. Mitterand, Perigueux
Futuro, Contemporary Art Centre of Macau
Kwangju Biennial, Kwangju, Korea
The Dutch Gasunie, Groningen, Holland
The Chengdu Movement, Canvas International Art, Amsterdam

1998-2000
Inside Out, Asia Society, New York, MoMA San Francisco, Seattle, Monterey

1997-98
8+8-1, Selected Paintings by 15 Contemporary Artists, Schoeni Gallery, Hong Kong
Avant Garde Chinese Artists, Soobin Gallery, Singapore
China Now, Kulturprojekte, Basel
Faces and Bodies of the Middle Kingdom, Chinese Art of the Nineties, Gallery Rudolfinum, Prague
Awarded Coutts Art Foundation Award

1996-97
CHINA! Kunstmuseum, Bonn, travelled to Vienna, Singapore, Copenhagen and Warsaw
4 Points de Rencontre: Chine 1996, Galerie de France, Paris

1996
Asia Pacific Triennial, Australia
Reckoning with the Past, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

1995
46th Venice Biennale, Venice
Avant Gardes Artistiques Xineses, Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona

1994
22nd International Biennial of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

1993
New Art from China: Post-1989, Marlborough Gallery, London
Chinese Fine Art in the 1990s: Experiences of China, Chengdu
Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

1992
Guangzhou Biannual, Guangzhou

1991
I Don’t Want to Play Cards with Cezanne, Asia Pacific Art Museum, California

1989
China Avant Garde, China National Gallery, Beijing