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The Divine Earth: Zou Jianping Solo Exhibition

Curator: Yuan Tingxuan

1.13 - 2.24.2024

Bangkok

Press

Zou Jianping is a significant artist who stands as a pivotal force in the development of modern and contemporary art in China. His persona seamlessly fuses the realms of publication and creation, navigating interdisciplinary spaces with a nuanced and multifaceted approach.

 

Evidently, in the historical development of contemporary Chinese art and the associated events linking art and the market, Zou Jianping's narrative seems to have been overlooked. The Tang Contemporary Art space in Bangkok is organizing this exhibition in the hope of acknowledging and highlighting the richness of his later artistic endeavors. After reaching the age of sixty, Zou Jianping embarked on a journey from the ancient city of Changsha, passing through the Maiji Mountain toward the distant horizon of Kashmir. His essence radiates a sublime nobility, adorned with an exceptionally heroic demeanour. Several years later, Zou Jianping's artistic series exploring the western frontiers was presented in the poetic form of mud and sand.

 

Mud and sand are often metaphorically used to refer to the vast grasslands and wilderness, but in Zou Jianping's art, they transcend mere symbolism. Beyond the mainstream discourse of art, his works unravel a vast world, tearing through the essence of the brutal wild, particularly in the visual reinterpretation of the Western region. Zou Jianping's works do not indulge in superficial admiration of Western customs; instead, he penetrates the Zen image, soaring through the heavens, cultivating the barren in the sands of time and cultural currents, contemplating in silence, resulting in a series of intricately patterned and vibrant hues of red. In his works, these mud and sands become the soul of the Western region, the dust of history, a reshaping of Eastern vitality, and the burial ground of civilization. The earth is a romantic symbol of primal essence in his works, and mud and sand serve as the constituent materials of the earth.  As a substrate of the Earth's surface, mud and sand form the foundation of all terrestrial ecosystems. Zou Jianping's Desert series delves into contemplation, dissolving the materialized significance of mud and sand as soil. They seamlessly merge with the natural life of falling leaves, entwined roots, flying moths, chirping insects, and the artificial constructs of books, gloves, and motorcycle gear. In his creations, everything becomes a poignant note in the meticulous reconstruction of meaning.

 

The Bangkok exhibition primarily showcases Zou Jianping's scale and depth of experience in the desert, tracing his journey through the vast wilderness. In his recent work, he pays poignant homage to family, particularly his elderly mother, wife, and children, while reflecting on the significance of seeds and rice. Over these years, Zou Jianping's trajectory has shifted from the bustling urban landscape to the serene vastness of the desert, a return from the untamed wilderness to a reconnection with life. In the presence of each meticulously crafted mud and sand painting and the Han spirit painting, Zou Jianping's exploration of spiritual landscapes, though firmly grounded in the present, seems to transcend earthly constraints. Beneath the wings of time, his creations take flight into the boundless expanse of the sky.

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Works
Kutcha Imprint No.2

Kutcha Imprint No.2

Mixed media on handmade paper on board 250 × 130 cm 2021

Kutcha Imprint No.5

Kutcha Imprint No.5

Mixed media on handmade paper on board 250 × 130 cm 2022

My Buddha: Kizil Imprint No.7

My Buddha: Kizil Imprint No.7

Mixed media on canvas 150 x 200 cm 158 × 208 cm (with frame) 2021

My Buddha: Kizil Imprint No.8

My Buddha: Kizil Imprint No.8

Mixed media on canvas 150 x 200 cm 158 × 208 cm (with frame) 2021

My Buddha: Petal Rain

My Buddha: Petal Rain

Mixed media on canvas 80 x 60 cm 88 × 69 cm (with frame) 2023

My Buddha: Dawn

My Buddha: Dawn

Mixed media on canvas 80 x 60 cm 88 × 68 cm (with frame) 2023

Bezeklik Imprint

Bezeklik Imprint

Mixed media on canvas 184 x 160 cm 192 × 168 cm (with frame) 2021

Golden Lantern Tample on Mt. Taihang

Golden Lantern Tample on Mt. Taihang

Mixed media on canvas 90 x 73 cm 105 × 87 cm (with frame) 2023

Peach Blossom Message

Peach Blossom Message

Mixed media on canvas 80 x 60 cm 88 x 68 cm (with frame) 2023

Blue Handprint

Blue Handprint

Mixed media on canvas 200 × 200 cm 2021

Red Tower

Red Tower

Mixed media on canvas 40 x 30 cm 88 x 68 cm (with frame 2023

Donggar and Piyang: Last Dignity

Donggar and Piyang: Last Dignity

Mixed media on canvas 135 × 115 cm 2022

Trace to the Desert No.1

Trace to the Desert No.1

Mixed media on canvas 130 x 60 cm 138 x 68 cm (with frame) 2021

Bid Bird: Flying Green Plane

Bid Bird: Flying Green Plane

Mixed media on canvas 150 x 200 cm 158 x 208 cm (with frame) 2021

Big Bird: Auspicious Cloud

Big Bird: Auspicious Cloud

Mixed media on canvas 120 x 150 cm 128 x 158 cm (with frame) 2021

Big Bird: Fly South

Big Bird: Fly South

Mixed media on canvas 120 x 150 cm 128 x 158 cm (with frame) 2021

Big Bird: Red Temptation

Big Bird: Red Temptation

Mixed media on canvas 200 × 200 cm 2021

Big Vase No.3

Big Vase No.3

Mixed media on canvas 80 x 60 cm 95 x 75 cm (with frame) 2021

Big Vase No.9

Big Vase No.9

Mixed media on canvas 100 x 80 cm 115 x 95 cm (with frame) 2023

Big Vase No.13

Big Vase No.13

Mixed media on canvas 120 x 100 cm 135 x 115 cm (with frame) 2023

Big Vase No.15

Big Vase No.15

Mixed media on canvas 80 x 100 cm 95 x 115 cm (with frame 2023

Artist
Artist
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Zou Jianping

B. 1955 Hunan, China


Zou Jianping, born in 1955 in Hunan, graduated from Hunan Normal University and pursued further studies at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He is the Honorary Chairman of the Hunan Artists Association, a member of the Chinese Artists Association, and an art consultant at the Yungang Grottoes Research Institute. Zou resides and works in Changsha.

His exhibitions include: 1990, China Modern Art Exhibition (Pacific Asia Museum, USA); 1991, Modern Culture and Contemporary China (Moscow Central Art Museum); 1997, China Art Grand Exhibition (Shanghai Library); 1998, The 13th Asian International Art Exhibition (The National Art Gallery of Malaysia); 1998, The First International Ink Painting Biennial of Shenzhen (Shenzhen Guan Shanyue Art Museum); 1999, The 14th Asian International Art Exhibition (Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan); 1999, Gate of the Century: 1989━2000 China Art Grand Exhibition (Chengdu Museum of Modern Art); 2000, New China Painting Exhibition (Shanghai Liu Haisu Art Museum); 2000, The Second International Ink Painting Biennial of Shenzhen (Shenzhen Guan Shanyue Art Museum); 2001, 20 Years of Chinese Ink Experiment (Guangdong Art Museum); 2002, The 17th Asian International Art Exhibition (Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea); 2002, The Third International Ink Painting Biennial of Shenzhen (Shenzhen Guan Shanyue Art Museum); 2003, BEAUTIJUF DESIRE Art Exhibition (Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok Space); 2005, Nomination Exhibition of Contemporary · Prosperous Chinese Painting (National Art Museum of China); 2006, The First Contemporary Visual: China Contemporary Art Yearbook Exhibition (Beijing World Art Museum); 2006, The Fifth International Ink Painting Biennial of Shenzhen (Shenzhen Art Museum); 2006, "Contemporary Art in the Chinese Cultural Context" Biennial Exhibition (Today Art Museum, Beijing); 2006, China Contemporary Art Chengdu Biennial Exhibition (Chengdu Museum of Modern Art); 2009, Shanghai New Ink Art Exhibition (Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art); 2009, Trends in Hubei and Hunan: Chinese Contemporary Art in Hubei & Hunan (Guangdong Art Museum), etc.

Zou Jianping is a significant figure in the development of contemporary and modern art in China. With nearly 46 years of dedication to artistic endeavors, he epitomizes the nuanced and diverse nature of a contemporary artist, seamlessly integrating publication and creative expression, venturing across disciplines and embracing a composite approach to his craft.

This solo exhibition in Bangkok showcases Zou Jianping's recent works, and we plan to elaborate on three aspects:    

Firstly, at 65, artist Zou Jianping embarked on a self-driven journey covering 33,000 kilometers. His path took him across the Kizil Caves and the Kumtura Caves in the Aksu region of Xinjiang, the Bezeklik Caves in Turpan, and the ancient Guge Kingdom and Piyang-Dongga Caves in Tibet. Utilizing a systematic and evidentiary approach, he revitalized the paintings and historical images of the Western Regions, sparking a renewed understanding of the integrative characteristics of Chinese culture.

Secondly, the "Great Bird Series" integrates traditional patterns from Hunan, deeply embedding the artist's own destiny into the development context of contemporary art. Zou Jianping describes himself as "I am a bird. If I die, I die in the sky!" The series unfolds through the imagery of birds, continuously questioning the ultimate dedication of the artist's spirit.

Thirdly, Zou Jianping unveils the "Grand Vase Series," using diverse materials that reflect his sustained quest for new romantic expressions. He emphasizes the construction of rational order while exhibiting a profound humanistic concern.  Through his writings, one can often sense his compassionate and romantic delicacy, expressing a deep concern for the world. Beyond the canvas, Zou Jianping navigates between the sacred and the mundane, drawing inspiration from both the transcendent and the everyday collisions of the worldly. Through his symbolic language, he metaphorically articulates personal appeals and seeks redemption within the confines of the secular. Notably, his chosen medium involves the use of mineral-rich soil—black clay, red clay, and white clay—forging sharp implements that serve as the eloquent vocabulary of his artistic expression. In this, he imparts a divine quality to the very earth from which his creations emerge. Zou's works appear to both exalt and dissolve the divine. The conventional altar of the gods discreetly recedes, inviting the divine back into the human sphere, ultimately restoring and narrating the timeless stories of humanity.

Curator
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Yuan Tingxuan

B.1982 in Xinjiang

Yuan Tingxuan is an independent curator who graduated from Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts and currently resides in Changsha. He has previously worked at Beijing 798 Art District and various other art museums in Changsha. Engaged in contemporary art research and experimental curatorial work for an extended period, he has curated over a hundred exhibitions and events. His focus spans experimental contemporary art, biennials, and comprehensive group exhibitions. Yuan has initiated and participated in several experimental art projects on the internet, actively contributing to the establishment of non-profit art institutions and cultural ecosystems.

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