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 Jiang Xu  (1955 - )

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Lived/Active: China      Known for: painting

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from Auction House Records.
Twelve Views of a Sunflower Field XII
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Poly Auction Hong Kong:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Jiang Xu (Chinese, Born 1955) A Ferryman for Eastern and Western Cultures What we need to do, is to seek out the fundamentals of our time in this long voyage of cross-cultural pursuit.  In this “Dichotomy of the East and West”, one should gradually shake-off the shadow of an imagination of the Orient and reconstructs a Chinese cultural consciousness and identity that is based on a historical and cultural perspective which is deeply rooted in a contemporary and living milieu and that is creative and original.

Xu Jiang graduated from the Department of Oil Painting of the China Academy of Art in 1982.  Xu Jiang then pursued further study at the College of Fine Arts Hamburg in Germany.  The deep impact of cultural differences in a foreign country inspired him to carry out an unprecedented look into the classics and exploration.  He started to be interested in Ba Da Shan-ren (Zhu Da), Shi Tao, I Ching, Lao-Tzu and Zhuangzi and began to look for ethos of our ancient culture in these works.  This developed into a turning point of his artistic career.

Since then, the understanding and appreciation for China’s history has remained the axis of his creative spirit.  By employing Western techniques, he re-interpreted Chinese cultural traditions and created Chinese contemporary art that reflected the times.

Wu Guanzhong once praised Xu Jiang by saying, “I agree with his primary academic viewpoint, attitude, and pursuit of the art of painting.  He’s got liberal ideas and is well-informed of things from the West.  Besides, he has a broad vision of the world and yet grounded to his land and his own people.  His attitude is innovative and he’s got the courage to explore.”

Both works entitled Chess Figurines over Gray Background, and Harmonic Shan Shui 4 were created in the 1990s.  In terms of style, the works belong to an early style of abstraction through broad strokes.  However, in terms of expressing emotion, Chess Figurines over Gray Background is outrageous, open and unrestrained like wild cursive script in calligraphy.  As for Harmonic Shan Shui 4, it feels mild and staid, like delicate regular script.

In a free manner, Xu Jiang’s painting brush can be wild or reserved according to his own feeling.  Even though the picture does not depict any concrete theme, the viewer can still feel the different emotional turns and shifts through it.  For Chess Figurines over Gray Background, the artist borrowed an idea of George Braque to deconstruct natural shapes into simple forms and re-deploy them in disarray.  The idea is to follow the Cubist argument that colors would interfere with the space.  Thus the artist painted the subject with one single tone, the Prussian blue, to deconstruct the state of the object’s appearance, re-composing a vision that doesn’t exist in reality.

The subject in the painting is distorted, crushed and deformed and is in contrast with the calm gray background so as to foreground the figurines’ invincible dynamism.  Different colors are superimposed to compose the majestic picture; bold strokes yield strong visual stimulus and heighten the dramatic effect of the picture.

Harmonic Shan Shui: Poetry Men of letters of the ancient times loved and admired mountain and water (shan shui).  In all their spiritual integration with Nature, they composed beautiful verses.  Just like poetry, shan shui comes to vibrate with beauty through its clear sounds characteristic of Nature and the prosperity of all things.  The subject of Harmonic Shan Shui 4 is abstract.  As the title suggests, the viewer can only imagine the picture to be an impressionist poem on a landscape of floating clouds and flowing water.

Based on the German spirit of discretion and rationality, Xu Jiang set up brick structures through calm yet active colored planes.  He adapted the Chinese people’s detached way of feeling, hiding many details in obscure and thick colored areas: by blending black tiny fragments inscribed onto the white texture, the artist created an avant-garde style that juxtaposes Chinese and Western cultures.

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