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Triumph Gallery
2019.05.24 Fri - 2019.06.24 Mon
Opening Exhibition
A-05, 798 Art Zone, No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, 100015
+86 10 5762 3012
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Xu Hong:The Space Inside Within
[Press Release]

We are pleased to present the solo show of Xu Hong at the Triumph Gallery in 798 Art Zone in Beijing, entitled The Space Inside Within on May 24, 2019. Curated by the international curator Thomas Eller, the exhibition presents three work groups by the prolific artist for this exhibition grouped around the artist ́s complex use of space as a pictorial element, psychological reality and as spiritual presence.

In this exhibition the Nanjing-based artist, who is profoundly rooted in China ́s cultural wisdom, connects to contemporary discourses in painting and pushes the boundaries of his artistic practice forward yet again. Uncertain spaces have been a signature element in the work Xu Hong for a long time. This exhibition discusses three different spatial methodologies the artist has developed.

The first one shows land and seascapes within the (painted) interiors of his artwork. This inversion transforms outside nature into a psychological reality for the artist and therefore, by proxy also for the viewer. When we see the distant landscapes painted by Xu Hong, we immediately search for them within ourselves.

深谷桃源之三 | Peach Orchard in the Valley No.3 木板综合材料 | Mixed Media on Wood 244×488cm (四联拼 |  Tetraptych) 2018

深谷桃源之三 | Peach Orchard in the Valley No.3
木板综合材料 | Mixed Media on Wood
244×488cm (四联拼 | Tetraptych)

此山中 | Inside This Mountain 木板综合材料 | Mixed Media on Wood 180×210cm 2017

此山中 | Inside This Mountain
木板综合材料 | Mixed Media on Wood

早春二月之菊 | Chrysanthemum - Early Spring in February 木板综合材料 | Mixed Media on Wood 166×138cm 2018

早春二月之菊 | Chrysanthemum – Early Spring in February
木板综合材料 | Mixed Media on Wood

The second approach is a new focus, or “zooming in” onto details of landscapes. Differently to his previous work where landscape became an interior reality of  psyche and yet retained quite some distance, the new works seem to surround the viewer with an intensity at very close proximity. These paintings engulf the viewer and give him/her the feeling of getting lost in the dense undershrub of the woods on a foggy day.

The third and most recent development incorporates the material reality of his artworks, broken plywood and scraped paint into the formation of space. When the previous two approaches still made representational suggestions to landscapes – with a few brush strokes the artist can invoke an image of a bamboo twig for example – the new approach forfeits this painterly rhetoric. Instead the artist has begun to fully trust his materials to invoke different notions of landscape as pictorial space. In other words: By shaping the plywood, splintering it, scraping the paint, Xu Hong creates art works that do not represent space (of a landscape), the painting “are” landscape and claim their own painterly reality of space.

For Xu Hong the use of space in his artistic work and pictorial practice is a direct expression of his connection to the world. The ambiguities inherent in his work are part of the complex process of relating that we as humans all have to go through. It is the artist ́s achievement to open our eyes to something that causes unease in most of us. He also gives us ideas on how to face this.

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About the artist

Xu Hong was born in Chongqing, China. He graduated from the School of Fine Arts Nanjing University of Arts in 1993, and lives and works in Nanjing. The art creation of Xu Hong can be divided into several stages: from the early experimental sarcastic realism and surrealism to the turning point of depicting interior scenes in 2009, and finally in recent years, his “Peach Orchard in the Valley”, ”Early Spring”, and “Broken Mountain“ series, in which the space in his painting has changed from domestic to the natural landscape. Xu Hong embraces Chinese tradition as the core of his art, expressing the longing for seclusion and the spiritual convert in Chinese literaticulture.

Xu Hong’s latest solo exhibitions include: “Xu Hong: The Space Inside Within” (Triumph Gallery, Beijing, China, 2019), “Peach Orchard in the Valley” (Amy Li Gallery, Beijing, China, 2017), “KSANA : XU HONG & QIN AI” (Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2015), “The Morning after a Party” (Zhuzi Arts Center, Nanjing, China, 2013), etc.

About the curator

Thomas Eller is a German artist, curator and writer who lives and works in Beijing. Currently he is artistic director of the Taoxichuan CHINA ARTS & SCIENCES project in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province. He is also president of the art magazine RanDian. He currently also serves as Vice-president of the board of SAVVY friends, Berlin, since 2015 and is a Board member of MOMENTUM worldwide, since 2012.In the past, he founded the Gallery Weekend Beijing in 2017. From 2008 to 2009 he was director of Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, a temporary art museum on the site of the future Humboldtform in Berlin. From 2004 to 2008 he has been founding editor-in-chief of the German artnet magazine and executive manager for artnet ́s German operations.

Thomas Eller has been curating many exhibitions. The most important ones were: “ Painting after Painting after Painting after“ At the Guangdong Museum of Art in 2018 with Franz Ackermann, Thomas Scheibitz and Katja Strunz. In 2014 “Die 8 der Wege” presented an important group of younger artists from Beijing in Berlin. This seminal exhibition introduced the works of artists like He Xiangyu, Zhao Zhao, Lu Song, Guan Xiao, Sun Xun and others to German audience.

He is the recipient of several prestigious awards in Germany. Käthe-Kollwitz-Prize, Akademie der Künste Berlin, 2006, Villa Romana Prize, Florence, 2000, and the Karl Schmidt-Rottluff Prize, 1996.