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Yan Gallery
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Ctrl Shift
by Yan Gallery
Location: Yan Gallery
Artist(s): CAO Xiaodong
Date: 26 May - 12 Jun 2011

Yan Gallery is delighted to announce its next exhibition entitled “Ctrl Shift”, which will feature an important collection of oil paintings by Mainland Chinese artist Cao Xiaodong. This exhibition coincides with ARTHK11.

Cao Xiaodong was a member of the 1985 “New Tide” movement in China. His contemporaries were Fang Lijun and Wang Guangyi who went on to attract a wide audience. Cao, however, at that time switched from painting in oil to a more experimental style of ink painting. His research into the effects of dots, lines and space became the basis for a new direction, which has led to Cao’s iconic signature style. Painting small dots onto the canvas, Cao creates images that are imbued with a sense of history and cultural significance.

This exhibition consists of two parts. The first features characters from the era of the Chinese Republic. The muted tones, along with the pixel-like effect of Cao’s paintings, heighten the feelings of nostalgia for a bygone era. Like faded sepia photographs, Cao captures the dignity and glamour of that age. The second body of work features people and events from the past fifty years. As if taking snap shots of life in the East and West, we see images of the Cultural Revolution in China juxtaposed with images of the Sexual Revolution in America. Hugh Hefner and his Bunny Girls feature predominantly, alongside Mao Zedong with girls in Mao style uniforms. In one work Mao is transposed into a setting of Bunny Girls, in another Marilyn Monroe wearing a bikini glances over her shoulder at Mao wearing his bathing suit. In his own unique style Cao has tackled history head on, recording and preserving it for future generations.

Cao’s use of pixilation technique and his overall style make his works very contemporary. However, his works have added depth due to his knowledge and understanding of the ancient art of ink painting. Like the literati painters, Cao shuns the use of bright colours. Stand too close to his work and the images dissolve before you like the haze and mist conveyed in an ink painting. His works are filled with a heightened sense of emotion and a strong feeling of nostalgia.

Cao was born in Jiangsu Province in 1961 and graduated from the Industry Design College of Jiangnan University in 1982. He was a member of the “Red Trip” art group in Jiangsu Province. He launched the magazine “Art Currents” in 1991 and also a series of books in 1992 entitled “Culture and Art Forum”. He has held exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and throughout China. He now lives and works as a full time artist in Beijing.

The artist will be present at the opening.

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