Tang Contemporary Art is proud to announce the opening of a solo exhibition by artist Ling Jian on June 15, 2019 in its new VIP space in Bangkok. In this body of paintings, Ling will present a different style and direction from his previous work. In those paintings, Ling juxtaposes or layers images from bird painting manuals held at the Forbidden City with gongbi and realist portraits of women. After being tempered by the artist’s personal experience, these two seemingly disparate languages achieve immense harmony of visual expression and aesthetic sensibility.
Ling Jian’s new works are inspired by chance encounters with music and painting. The German rock band Rammstein has a heavy metal song entitled “Ohne Dich” (“Without You”) about love and death. One of the lyrics is “Ohne dich…unddie vogel singen nicht mehr” (“Without you… the birds sing no more”). Ling Jian heard this song while shopping at a flea market, where he also chanced upon a bird painting manual from the Forbidden City. At that moment, the gongbi paintings of birds in this manual and Rammstein’s song collided and blended in time and space, producing a special emotional connection. With this unexpected encounter, Ling Jian chose to fuse gongbi painting with contemporary painting techniques, continuing his recent experiments with related artistic questions.
Ling also explored the link between classical culture and new inspirations for contemporary art in his 2011 solo exhibition “Moon in Glass” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. In recent years, he has continued to draw nourishment from traditional Chinese culture; aesthetically and technically, he perfectly blends traditional and contemporary themes, transforming them into a painting style all on his own. He has always embraced an open creative state, in which “ancient birds” fly to the present and sing the melodies of Kangxi and Rammstein.
Kindred Birds Oil and Acrylic on Canvas Diameter 150 cm 2016
Falling Ancient Birds Oil and acrylic on canvas 190 x 130 cm 2016
Spring Palace Bird Oil and acrylic on canvas 150 x 135 cm 2016
White Pigeon Oil and acrylic on canvas Diameter 150 cm 2016
Lily with Ribbon Oil and acrylic on canvas 180 x 150 cm 2016
Guanxiu: Gold Oil, acrylic and 24k Gold on canvas 180 x 120 cm 2016
Guanxiu: Black Oil, acrylic and 24K gold on canvas 180 x 120 cm 2016
b. 1963 Shandong, China
Ling Jian graduated with a BA from the Fine Arts Department of Tsinghua University Art College, Beijing, in 1986.
Ling moved from China to Europe in the late 1980s, a geographical transition which led to the artist’s experimentation with the body and performance art. Ling circles his practice around mass consumerism and society’s hypocritical stances on beauty ideals through various painting methods. His series of painted women are both kitsch and politically charged; their style and compositions drawn from traditional Western portraiture. Using conventionality as a framework for which to comment on society, he enlarges the eyes or reddens the lips, highlighting the hypocrisy of beauty standards, sexuality and political drama. Recently, his painting series of sharks evolve this idea further, with vague erotic themes cutting through the aggressive, feral imagery.
He currently divides his time between Berlin, Beijing and Hong Kong.
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