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date: 20 January 2020

Zhang Xiaoganglocked

(b Kunming, 1958).
  • Mia Yinxing Liu


(b Kunming, 1958).

Chinese painter and sculptor. Born in Kunming, Yunnan, a city in the southwest of China, Zhang Xiaogang’s schooling was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution when he was 8 years old. As the Cultural Revolution ended and collegiate entrance exams were reinstated, Zhang was admitted to the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1977 where he studied oil painting. His physical and mental health struggles, and especially his hospitalization for alcoholism, might be evident in a drawing series done in 1984 that featured death and ghosts in a morbid surrealism of gray and dark tones.

In the wake of the ’85 New Wave Art Movement in China, Zhang formed the South West Art Group and participated in the Chinese avant-garde art scene. As the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 abruptly ended the optimism and hope of reform, Zhang began making paintings that were allegorical and solemn in nature, and predominantly centered on themes of death and mourning. In ...

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