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Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Japan and the USA.

Born 8 December 1957, in Quanzhou City (Fujian Province).

Painter, draughtsman, mixed media, video artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Cai Guo-Qiang trained in stage design at the Shanghai drama institute from 1981 to 1985...

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1980.

Born 7 October 1939, in Shanxi.

Painter, draughtsman, screen printer, illustrator. Figures, scenes with figures, landscapes, landscapes with figures, flowers. Postage stamps, murals.

Ding Shaoguang studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in ...

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Born 1944.

Painter, decorative artist. Landscapes. Stage sets.

Duan Zhenzhong graduated from the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts in 1964. He is currently chief set designer of the Beijing Film Studio. In 1989, he won the Coq d’Or for best set design....

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 4 January 1940, in Ganzhou (Jiangxi Province).

Painter, draughtsman, writer, illustrator. Stage sets.

The Nobel-prizewinning writer Gao Xingjian was a painter even before becoming a novelist, essayist, dramatist and director. He studied painting at Nanjing under the painter Yu Yungzhong. Then, in ...

Article

Melissa Chiu

(b Quanzhou, Dec 8, 1957).

Chinese installation artist. Cai studied at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, completing his degree in stage design in 1985. He is best known for ephemeral, large-scale explosion-works using gunpowder—a medium he began to experiment with in China and often explained as a childhood reference to witnessing skirmishes between China and Taiwan along what was known as the Fujian Front.

In the 1980s, he applied gunpowder to canvas, which he then lit to create bold, charred designs. When Cai emigrated to Japan in 1986, he began to use gunpowder for environmental installations. Since 1989 he called these works Projects for Extraterrestrials. Cai believed that most explosions visible from space have been related to war, and that his work sends a non-violent message. A good example is The Horizon from the Pan Pacific: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 14 (1994), executed off the coast of Iwaki, a small town in Japan, where Cai installed a 5000-metre trail of gunpowder in the ocean that illuminated the horizon. The work evoked the experience of living in this small fishing village, where the ocean is a central part of everyday life. Such a conceptually charged, yet rudimentary application of gunpowder, characterizes Cai’s works created in Japan....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 6 May 1928, in Arashiyara (Kyoto).

Painter, draughtsman, engraver. Murals, stage sets.

Action painting.

Toshimitsu Imai studied literature and philosophy extensively before devoting himself to art. Staying in Paris from 1951 to 1962, he studied for a few months in 1957 at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1951, he was awarded the prize for young painters at the Tokyo salon, and in 1983 he was appointed an officer of the order of arts and letters. In 1957, Imai took part in the demonstrations Georges Mathieu organised in Paris on the anniversary of the conviction of the medieval thinker Siger de Brabant....

Article

Japanese, 18th century, male.

Painter.

Ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world).

Ando Kaigetsudo and the school that he founded, and to which he gave his name, belong to the ‘primitive’ stage of the ukiyo-e movement. The pictures produced by the school were predominantly of beautiful women about town; they were mass-produced and have a particularly stylised look about them, which adds a boldness to the rhythmic movement of their sumptuous robes. Such pictures would become the stock-in-trade of later ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1970.

Born 4 October 1944, in Kyoto.

Painter (including gouache), engraver, draughtsman, sculptor, installation artist. Figures. Stage sets.

Akihiko Kuroda studied art history but then abandoned painting until 1974. In 1985 he founded the magazine Noise. He lives and works in Paris. His work is very free, born out of spontaneity; his forms seem to spring to life from his line. Influenced by Chinese calligraphy, his early works have delicate graffiti or stabbing signs against dark backgrounds. He works with great economy of means, creating incisive figures and frozen silhouettes that stand out against monochrome backgrounds. He usually uses lively colours in flat areas outlined in black or white. When working in other media, his attitude to the painted surface is always restless, making it silent or complex by turns. In some of his more recent work in black and grey, the ‘nothingness of space’ contains points, dots, curves, lines, brushstrokes, vortices of matter, geometric forms tossed casually down. Primarily a painter, Kuroda has also produced a large number of posters and book covers, notably for ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1956, in Shandong Province.

Painter. Nudes, portraits, genre scenes, landscapes.

Si Zijie graduated from the department of stage design of the central academy of drama in 1982 and has exhibited in numerous oil painting exhibitions in China since 1987...

Article

(b Wuchang, Hubei, China, July 14, 1894; d Stockholm, Nov 7, 1958).

Swedish painter, mosaic maker and stage designer. He moved to Sweden in 1907 where he sporadically attended a painting school. In 1914 Sköld went to Copenhagen where, as well as attending the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, he saw the Expressionist and Cubist works in the Tetzen-Lund Samling. After initially being influenced by Cézanne, he experimented with Cubism, producing such works as The Changing of the Guard in Copenhagen (1917; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.) in which the figures are fragmented into a series of overlapping planes. In 1918 he also experimented with collage, producing such works as Romantic Still-life (Comte Costia) (1918; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.). In 1919 he moved to Paris and in 1922 co-founded the Phalanx group with Birger Simonsson (1883–1938). His painting at this time was executed in a stylized but essentially realistic manner, as in The Bistro (1920; Oslo, N.G.). He also painted a number of detailed architectural views, often curiously framed in the composition, as in ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1951, in Shanghai.

Painter.

From the age of ten, Xu Jianguo began studying traditional Chinese painting, completing his studies at the Shanghai drama academy. He was a set designer at the Shanghai Opera for eight years. In 1984 he went to the USA to complete his studies at Bard College, where he obtained a diploma in Advanced Studies in ...

Article

Shin’ichiro Osaki

(b Nishiwaki, Hyōgo Prefect., 1936).

Japanese stage designer, printmaker and painter . In 1960 he went to Tokyo and began his career as a stage designer. He was responsible for the design of such avant-garde drama as the Situation Theatre (Jōkyō Gekijō) of Jūrō Kara (b 1940) and the Upper Gallery (Tenjō Sajiki) of Shūji Terayama (1935–83). He also produced prints and in 1967 exhibited works in the Word and Image exhibition at MOMA, New York. Although he used photographs as the basis of his designs, Yokoo’s prints drew upon aspects of traditional Japanese woodcuts that coincided with the style of contemporary Pop art, using in particular flat areas of colour and overtly sexual subject-matter (e.g. X-sex IV, screenprint, 1968; priv. col., see Yokoo, 1990, p. 13). In addition to his activity as a commercial designer, from the late 1960s he became interested in mysticism and psychedelic art, influenced in particular by travels in India in the 1970s. He produced posters with eclectic imagery similar to that of contemporary psychedelic ‘underground’ magazines. In ...

Article

Melissa Chiu

(b Shanghai, 1955; d Paris, Dec 13, 2000).

Chinese installation artist, active also in France. Chen studied at Shanghai Fine Arts and Craft School until 1973 and the Shanghai Drama Institute until 1978, where he majored in stage design. Following his graduation, he became a professor at both art schools. Chen’s most representative works from this period are a series of large, grey oil paintings entitled The Flow of Qi (Qi You Tu) (1985). These works endeavoured to represent the movement of qi, or spirit, a core element of life and the cosmos in Chinese philosophy. Although not radical in form, the work with its references to ancient and traditional Chinese philosophy was a provocative political gesture given that these ideas had been suppressed during the Cultural Revolution.

When Chen moved to Paris in 1986, he enrolled at the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques, graduating in 1989. His installations throughout the 1990s, when he came to international prominence, nearly without exception included references to his Chinese heritage, including Daoist philosophy, Chinese domestic objects (chamber pots, furniture such as chairs and tables, Buddha statues, abaci), and traditional medicine. These references demonstrate a residual effect of his Chinese upbringing—he lived in China until he was 31—as well as a sense of displacement as an immigrant in France and an attempt to come to grips with being a contemporary artist living and working in the West, but not sharing that region’s culture, history and traditions. For Chen, the incorporation of Chinese references in his work were essential as a matter of defining who he was as an artist, while at the same time articulating the uniqueness of his experience....