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Jiang Xu (b. 1955)
This property has been sourced from overseas. Whe… Read more
Jiang Xu (b. 1955)

Great Beijing: Drum and Bell Tower I

Details
Jiang Xu (b. 1955)
Great Beijing: Drum and Bell Tower I
signed in Chinese; titled in Chinese; dated '2000' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
180 x 180 cm. (70 7/8 x 70 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2000
Provenance
Anon. Sale; Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2007, Lot 305
Acquired directly from above auction by the present owner
Literature
Columbia University Communications, Heaven and Earth: Two Visions of China, Chicago, U.S.A., 2001 (illustrated, p. 9).
The National Art Museum of China, New Image: Chinese Contemporary painting 20 Years, Beijing, China, 2001 (illustrated, p. 147).
Chengdu 1st Biennle, Chengdu, China, 2001 (illustrated, p. 135).
Shenzhen Art Museum, Image of Ideals: 2002 Chinese Contemporary Oil Painting Invitation Exhibition, Shenzhen, China, 2002 (illustrated, p. 35).
Contemporary Art and Local Culture: Xu Jiang, 2002 (illustrated, pp. 122-123).
Beijing Century Forum, Core of a Century: An Exhibition of 50 Contemporary Chinese Artist, Beijing, China, 2002 (illustrated, p. 172).
Shangdong Fine Art Publishing House, Catalogue of the Land, 2004 (illustrated).
Artist Time, Essence of the Metropolitan, 2005 (illustrated, p. 17).
China Art National Gallery, The Art of Xu Jiang, Beijing, China (illustrated, p. 34).
Contemporary Art, 2006, (illustrated, p. 42).
China Art National Gallery, Beijing, China, 2006 (illustrated, p. 34). Hamburg Art Museum, Far West: Group Exhibition, Hamburg, Germany, 2006 (illustrated, p. 90).
Guandong Museum of Art, The Art of Xu Jiang, Guang Zhou, China, 2007 (illustrated, p. 203).

Exhibited
Chicago, U.S.A., Columbia University Communications, Heaven and Earth: Two Visions of China, 2001.
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, New Image: Chinese Contemporary painting 20 Years, 2001.
Chengdu, China, Chengdu 1st Biennale, 2001.
Shenzhen, China, Shenzhen Art Museum, Image of Ideals: 2002 Chinese Contemporary Oil Painting Invitation Exhibition, 2002.
Beijing, China, Beijing World Art Museum, Core of a Century: An Exhibition of 50 Contemporary Chinese Artists, 2002.
Shanghai, China, Shanghai Spring Art Salon, Shanghai Mirage, 2004.
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, the Art of Xu Jiang, 2006.
Hamburg, Germany, Hamburg Art Museum, Far West: Group Exhibition, 2006.
Guang Zhou, China, Guangdong Museum of Art, the Art of Xu Jiang, 2007.
Special notice

This property has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for this lot in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import this lot into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import. The final amounts will be determined by PRC Customs and other competent authorities at the time of import. Neither Christie’s nor the seller warrants or guarantees the accuracy of this information and we are not responsible in any way for any errors or omissions. Potential buyers are responsible for satisfying themselves as to the amount of import customs duty and tax payable for lots which they buy and intend to import into the P

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

Lot Essay

In 1999, two newly developed thematic categories became central elements in Xu Jiang's paintings. Works like Chess Match of the Century fit into the first category Landscapes of History and deal with the ruined cityscape in history. The seemingly contemporary cityscapes common to works in the second category Past and Fading Landscapes are often imbued with a sense of history, time, and place. The painter becomes and observer and narrator of what is happening, unfinished, and gone; the boundaries between modernity and antiquity become blurry. The historicized cities in Xu Jiang's painting can be viewed as monuments of progress, places for fantasies, and containers of personal and collective memories.
History and ruins take on a philosophical significance in Xu Jiang's works. History is viewed as the archaeology of time and ruins, the topography of memory. Xu Jiang's oeuvre suggests that the present exists in the moments between the past and the future. We are ferrying forever in the river of time. What we experience as history is not something that exists in text or memory, but the happening and destiny of our being.
The transition from historical landscape to historicized landscape reflects Xu Jiang's philosophical insights. History is not taken as the subject matter for pictorial representation in Xu Jiang's painting. Rather, history unfolds itself in works like Historical Landscape. Xu Jiang's work hints that history exists not in our memory of the past, but in the everyday, here and now. Xu Jiang's painting dealing with time, history, mind and being becomes a realm parallel to history and the world. Xu Jiang's landscape becomes the manifestation of his mindscape and human existence.
Xu Jiang
- Excerpt from the Art of Xu Jiang, China Art Academy of Press
When Xu Jiang returned to China from Germany in the 1980s, he described himself as "a traveler returning home from afar." His art, too, underwent a kind of double return: after the transition from his early painting into installation and trans-media experiments, he made a fresh return to the mode of paint on canvas, while his artistic outlook, after integrating Western contemporary art, retraced a path back through traditional Chinese aesthetics.

Xu's Landscapes of History series takes as its central theme the built structures of cities, yet is completely removed from scenic painting based on "painting the scene that confronts you." Xu strives not to reproduce the objective forms that meet our eyes, but to make us feel the sweeping currents of history washing over us. Unlike the bewildering sense of loss or departure experienced by the ancient Chinese, Xu did not reflect on "heaven and earth, without limit, without end." Instead, he embodies, in brushstrokes of time, a kind of grand and tragic feeling for what is human, a dialogue between the present, past history, and the future. In his work, we find real architectural structures that exist in a continuum of memory and imagination. The vanished ages are transformed into a moment of stillness on the canvas, from which his solid forms project their ineffable sense of history's trials and triumphs. Xu further adopts unusual vantage points from which to view his subjects, and in the swift turns of his brush, the newly restructured forms they reveal, and his overlapping blocks of color, he presents us with interlacing frameworks of moments in time. His intricate, interwoven configurations and colors, shifting and changing, speak to us of the stories of different ages. His expressive techniques recall those of the Western Cubist and Expressionist artist Lyonel Feininger, who also used firm, straight lines and imbued his canvases with soft color and a sense of glowing light. With these elements, he produced outlines of modern urban scenes in powerfully structured compositions. In Xu's Great Beijing: Forbidden City, the artist adopts a bird's-eye view and an analytical approach to color, forms, and composition, and through his deconstruction, he presents us with a modern city and its unique spiritual character. The city's structures began with its walls, and these walls have been broken down into ruins and rebuilt countless times. But these historical walls are also walls of the spirit: in the flowing river of history, through the long cycles from exaltation to disappointment, from dejection back to hope, they have never been lost or abandoned. For the Chinese people and for humanity as a whole, they are a kind of homeland and a symbol of faith to be staunchly defended, and in Xu Jiang's painting, they are a beautiful and heroic ode to history.




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