Back to the Beginning: A Luo Zhongli Retrospective Exhibition 1965-2022
Curator: Cui Cancan
6.08 - 7.16, 2022
Beijing 1st & 2nd Space
Tang Contemporary Art is proud to announce the opening of “Back to the Beginning: A Luo Zhongli Retrospective Exhibition 1965-2022” on June 8, 2022, across both of the gallery’s Beijing spaces. Featuring more than 200 works, this exhibition is Luo Zhongli’s first major retrospective in Beijing and his most comprehensive retrospective to date.
Curated by Cui Cancan, the show will focus on Luo’s work from 1965 to the present and trace the changes in his art that have taken place since the beginning of Reform and Opening. The exhibition explores recurring themes and artistic ideas from his fifty-year career, examines personal triumphs and setbacks, and revisits the return to human-centric art that started with Father.
“Back to the Beginning” returns to the beginning of a kind of personal liberation in Luo Zhongli’s art.
The ten-section exhibition begins with a drawing for Father (1980), showing how Luo painted an ordinary person like he would a great leader. Around this time, he shifted away from extolling collectivism and toward depicting individuals. Years also connects to the creation of Father, revealing what informed this masterpiece and how it defined Luo’s view on his circumstances and creative themes for decades.
With Father as the guiding star in the center of the exhibition space, the “Timeline: 1965-2022” section reflects on larger events through smaller moments. From the several hundred works Luo Zhongli has created, “Back to the Beginning” offers selected fragments of his life or moments in time related to personal triumphs and setbacks, creating a new timeline of art history that reflects on the present through the past. “A Few Stories” delineates Luo’s transition from thematic works, Native Soil Art, and his Daba Mountains series to art historical considerations. Compared to the larger realities presented in the timeline, “A Traveler’s Diary” is lighter and more subtle, showing how works on paper shaped Luo’s transformative artistic language.
If the first four sections centered on time and history present four different perspectives on the past, then the latter six sections utilize stories, spaces, and places to depict the unbreakable bond between Luo Zhongli and the Daba Mountains. Labor series obviously references Luo Zhongli’s real perspective on and human concern for the Daba Mountains and the people who live there. In these works, he praises the simplicity of rural people and hard labor. “Night Lanterns” examines spirituality and faith in the Daba Mountains, while “Love” highlights Luo Zhongli’s return to humanity and his calm declaration of primitive desires. Through vanishing light and the repeated depiction of old subjects, “Rural Nostalgia” represents disappearing traditions in the Daba Mountains. The next section compares Luo’s early storybooks with more recent works, reflecting a shift from storytelling to grammatical analysis. Finally, A Dialogue with Art History shows Luo Zhongli’s transcendence of realism and subject matter and his reflections on history and life.
“Back to the Beginning” reflects the shifts in Luo Zhongli’s different series and the changes in his artistic and historical context throughout his painting history for more than fifty years. The show looks back on Luo’s life and work and re-situates his art within the history that produced it, attempting to uncover the relationships between an individual and his historical and artistic context. We present “Back to the Beginning” to reveal this journey through history and the triumphs and setbacks in Luo Zhongli’s art over more than five decades.
Curator: Cui Cancan
May 12, 2022
Light and Shadow Series
Oil on canvas 185 x 200 cm 1995-1999
Find Shelter from the Rain
Oil on canvas 140 x 180 cm 1999
Oil on canvas 200 x 185 cm 2001
Oil on canvas 200 x 250 cm 1995
Oil on canvas 150 x 130 cm 1983
Oil on canvas 185 x 160 cm 1982
The Story of Mt.Ba
Oil on canvas 250 x 200 cm 2000
Oil on canvas 200 x 180 cm 2000
Hometown Series-Knitting Wool
Oil on canvas 160 x 180 cm 1982
Oil on canvas 180 x 160 cm 1982
Oil on canvas 200 x 180 cm 2005
Dandelion in Green Tone
Oil on canvas 180 x 160 cm 2009
The Plantain Leaves Umbrella
Oil on canvas 180 x 160 cm 2008
Oil on canvas 250 x 200 cm 1998
Romance in tne Ba Mountain
Oil on canvas 130 x 150 cm 1999
Oil on canvas 200 x 180 cm 2010
Oil on canvas 80 x 90 cm 1999
Rereading Art History Series- Courbet Double Nudes
Oil on canvas 130 x 150 cm 2015
Rereading Art History Series-Rubens Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus
Oil on canvas 250 x 200 cm 2014
Fighting the Panther
Oil on canvas 250 x 400 cm (2 pic) 2001
Cycling Series-Come Rain or Shine
Oil on canvas 250 x 200 cm 2003
Luo Zhongli (b. 1947, Chongqing) is an accomplished Chinese artist. He graduated with a degree in Oil Painting from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1982. From 1983 to 1986, he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. He lives and works in Chongqing, Luo served as the president of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, vice chairman of China Artists Association, vice chairman of China Oil Painting Society, chairman of Chongqing Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and chairman of Chongqing Artists Association. His work "Father" won the first prize in "The 2nd National Youth Arts Exhibition". The "Luo Zhongli Scholarship for Oil Painting" was established to promote the development of contemporary art among Chinese youths.
Luo held solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University, Museum of Sydney, Royal Museums of Art and History (Belgium), National Art Museum of China, Embassy of Belgium in China, Shanghai Art Museum, Hunan Museum, Suzhou Museum, Chongqing Center of Contemporary Art, Luo Zhongli Art Museum, Guiyang Art Museum, e Museum of Contemporary Art (Shenzhen), Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Christie's Art Space (Shanghai), Museum of Taiwan History, Shin Kong Art Museum (Taipei), etc.
Luo’s works were also shown in many group exhibitions held by important institutions both domestic and abroad, including but not limited to Asian Art Museum (New York), Guggenheim Museum (New York), Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Singapore Art Museum, National Museum of Australia, National Art Museum of Chile, Palais Brongniart (France), NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Kassel KulturBahnhof, Salvador Modern Art Museum, National Museum of Lima, Toulouse Art Museum, Ohio University Art Museum, Yugoslav Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, National Museum of China, China Millennium Monument, China National Academy of Painting Art Museum, Song Art Museum, Dadu Art Museum, China Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, Long Art Museum, Baolong Art Museum, Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Chengdu Museum, Chengdu Modern Art Museum, Suzhou Art Museum, Nanjing Museum, Sichuan Art Museum, the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Art Museum, Chongqing Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art Chongqing, Luo Zhongli Art Museum, China Three Gorges Museum, Qingdao Art Museum, Shenzhen Art Museum, He Xiangning Art Museum, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts Art Museum, Sanya Museum of Contemporary Art and Taiwan Museum of Art.
Luo’s works have been in art institutions and private collections across the globe, such as the National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Taiwan Mountain Art Museum, Harvard University, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Singapore Art Museum, and Belgium Royal Museums of Art and History.
Cui Cancan is an active Chinese independent curator and critic.
He has won CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award) Art Review Award for Youth, Critics’ Award in Chinese contemporary art by YISHU, Annual Exhibition Award by Art Power 100, Nominee for Lincoln Curator Prize by TANC Asia Prize, The Best Artist Solo Exhibition of the Year Award by Chinese Contemporary Art News, Best Exhibition Award by Gallery Week Beijing, Annual Curator Award by Art Bank, et cetera.
Since 2012, he has curated almost 100 major exhibitions, including group exhibitions like Hei Qiao Night Way (2013), Rural Wash, Cut and Blow-dry(2013), FUCKOFF II (2013), Unlived by What is Seen (2014), Between the 5th and 6th Ring Road in Beijing (2015), The Decameron (2016), Rip it Up (2017), Spring Festival Projects (2018) , The Curation Workshop (2019) and Nine-Tiered(2020). He has curated artists’ solo exhibitions such as Ai Weiwei, Bao Xiaowei, Chen Danqing, Chen Yufan, Chen Yujun, Feng Lin, Han Dong, He Yunchang, Huang Yishan, Jiang Bo, Li Binyuan, Liu Gangshun, Liu Jianhua, Li Qing, Li Zhanyang, Ding Muer, Ma Ke, Mao Yan, Qin Qi, Sui Jianguo, Shijiezi Art Museum, Shi Jinsong, Shen Shaomin, Tan Ping, Wang Qingsong, Xie Nanxing, Xia Xiaowan, Xia Xing, Xiao Yu, Xu Zhongmin, Xu Xiaoguo, Zong Ning, Polit-Sheer-Form, Zhang Yue and Zhao Zhao et cetera.