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2015.09.07 Mon, by
OCAT Xi’an 2015 Autumn Exhibition
“About Painting Too”

“About Painting Too” is the second in a series of exhibitions that each addresses a topical issue within art today, and with particular reference to art in China. This year, young curator Pu Hong was invited to present a topic of his choice. Continuing the critical engagement with painting that was explored in the first exhibition in the series, “About Painting” in the spring of 2014, Pu Hong again takes painting as his subject. Through the work of eight artists, he selects a range of older and more recent works, each of which is distinctive of the style and approach for which each of the artists are known. Several, including Xu Zhen/MadeIn, Zhang Enli and Ding Yi, are very well known indeed and have, in recent years, been the subject of a series of large-scale solo exhibitions in China and abroad. In their especial way, Wang Chuan, Yang Shu and Xu Hongming have each made a significant contribution to the language of abstract painting in China, while the younger artists included here, Wang Guangle and Zhao Yao, bring the distinct energy of their generation to the art they produce.

Through his research, Pu Hong has focused less on how each individual artist arrived at their particular approach and. instead, questioned the conventional notion of painting today as the singular act of applying paint to canvas using a brush. In conclusion, he finds that, in instances, Xu Zhen/MadeIn being the immediate example, success forms of pictorial expression can involves neither paint brush nor even using paint itself. Abandoning the conventional materials altogether, Xu Zhen creates multi-textured collages on canvas as his version of a two-dimensional pictorial image. In a similar direction, Xu Hongming dispenses with the brush and applies pigment directly to dampened paper using his hand or a sieve inviting elements both natural and incidental to occur. Zhang Enli, meanwhile, might still use paint but in this exhibition abandons canvas and the confines of a picture plane entirely to create for OCAT Xi’an a unique space painting that unfolds across the floor of the upper level gallery. This immersive approach allows visitors to float on the painted surface as they walk over it, sit or even lie down on it.

“About Painting Too” thus presents paintings that are not at all conventional in a classical sense. It does not posit a trend, nor make any attempt to summarize and label artists collectively. It is simply about what painting can be in the most elemental sense of creating two-dimensional artworks today. Here, then, an exhibition that does not take as its focus “the best” or “most representative” of, but instead pins down the various artists’ ways of painting in the very act of becoming something new.

For their invaluable assistance with this exhibition OCAT Xi’an and Pu Hong would like to thank the following: Lorenz Helbling at ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai; MadeIn Company, Shanghai; collectors who loaned valuable works Zhou Dawei and Zhao Youhou; Lv Jingjing at Beijing Commune; Liu Jie at A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu; Edmond Wong at Workshop117; James Walkden, general manager at The Westin Xi’an.

About the Curator

Pu Hong is an art critic and curator. He holds his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degree from the Department of Art History at Tsinghua University. Selected exhibitions include “From University to Universes: Fresh Vision 2013”, 2013, OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China; “Another Leap”, 2014, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China. His essays have been published widely in LEAP, Artforum, Art World Magazine, and catalogues for Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), etc.

About the Artists


Ding Yi, Appearance of Crosses 2009-6, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 200cm x 380cm, detail

Ding Yi was born in 1962 in Shanghai. He graduated from Shanghai University Art School in 1990. He lives and works in Shanghai.


Wang Chuan, No.2 Fall from The Sky, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 200cm x 250cm, detail

Wang Chuan was born in Chengdu in 1953. He graduated from Sichuan Institute of Fines Arts in 1982. He lives and works in Beijing.


Wang Guangle, Untitled, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 280cm × 180 cm, detail

Wang Guangle was born in Fujian Province in 1976. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, in 2000. He lives and works in Beijing.


Xu Hongming, 2015.4.19, 2015, watercolor and ink on rice paper, 123cm × 246cm

Xu Hongming was born in Hunan Province in 1971. In 1991, he studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He lives and works in Beijing.


Xu Zhen, Spread B-027, 2010, collage on canvas, cloth, mixed media, 210cm x 296cm, detail, produced by MadeIn Company

Xu Zhen was born in Shanghai in 1977. He graduated from Shanghai School of Art and Craft in 1996. He lives and works in Shanghai.


Yang Shu, Untitled 2007-flower, 2007, acrylic and mixed materials on canvas, 180cm × 260 cm, detail

Yang Shu was born in Chongqing in 1965. He received a Masters from the Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in1988, and started his career as a lecturer there. He currently lives and works in Chongqing.


Zhang Enli, Space Painting, 2012, Kochi Biennal, India

Zhang Enli was born in Jilin in 1965. He studied at the Art School of Wuxi Light Industry University, graduating in 1989. He lives and works in Shanghai.


Zhao Yao, A Painting of Thought I-417, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 180cm × 180 cm, detail

Zhao Yao was born in Huxian, Sichuan Province in 1981. He graduated from the design department of Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in 2004. He lives and works in Beijing.

OCAT Xi’an 2015 Autumn Exhibition “About Painting Too”

Date: August 22 – November 1, 2015

Opening: August 22, 5pm

There will be a curator’s talk on Saturday August 22 at 10 am. This will be followed by two artist talks in the afternoon beginning at 2pm to 3:30pm and then 3:40pm to 5pm.

Please join Ding Yi, Wang Chuan, Wang Guangle, Xu Hongming, Xu Zhen, Yang Shu, Zhao Yao and Zhang Enli, together with guest curator Pu Hong at OCAT Xi’an, Saturday, August 22!