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Zhang Xiaogang    Mar 29 - Apr 27, 2013


Pace is pleased to present a two-venue exhibition of new paintings and bronzes by Zhang Xiaogang. This is the artist’s second exhibition at Pace in New York.

Zhang Xiaogang will be on view at 508 and 510 West 25th Street, New York, from March 29 through April 27. 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 an unexpected 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 came 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 (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. He has been the subject of twenty solo exhibitions, including museum shows at Gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Hong Kong Arts Center; Today Arts Center, Beijing; and the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia. He has been featured in international group exhibitions including the Guangzhou Biennial, China; International Biennial of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Venice Biennale; Gwangju Biennial, Korea; and Shanghai Biennale. His work is held in the collections of important museums worldwide, including the Essl Museum—Kunst der Gegenwart, Klosterneuburg, Austria; Dongyu Museum of Fine Arts, Shenyang, China; Fukuoka Museum of Art, Japan; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Gallery of Australia; Queensland Art Gallery, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; and Shanghai Art Museum, China.

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. For general inquiries, please email newyork@pacegallery.com; for reproduction requests, email reprorequest@pacegallery.com.

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