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Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958)
Property from the Collection of Melva Bucksbaum
Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958)

In-Out Series No. 11

Details
Zhang Xiaogang (b. 1958)
In-Out Series No. 11
signed in Chinese and dated 'Xiaogang Zhang 2006' (lower right)
oil on canvas
59 x 78 ¾ in. (150 x 200 cm.)
Painted in 2006.
Provenance
Max Protetch, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2006
Literature
H. Zhuan, ed., Zhang Xiaogang: Works, Literature and Research 1981-2014, Volume 3, Chengdu, 2016, p. 620 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Beijing Commune, Zhang Xiaogang: Home, April–May 2006.

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Alex Berggruen
Alex Berggruen

Lot Essay

Often executed in black and white, Zhang Xiaogang’s works create a profound dialogue between photography and painting. Drawing from the traditions of formal photo studio composition and greyscale palette, Zhang’s subjects are nameless and timeless. In-Out Series No. 11 presents us with a painting that, at first, seems to be a traditional still-life; a carefully placed arrangement of monochromatic objects. But the traditional arrangement is interrupted not only by the disruption of the picture’s focus but also by a painted horizontal lightbulb in the work’s lower register. Through this device, the artist breaks through boundaries, disturbing the status quo, in a manner that echoes his upbringing during the political unrest of the Cultural Revolution in China, and ultimately his parents’ abandonment. The light bulb is the artist’s way of inserting himself, his emotions, and his narrative into the work.
Zhang Xiaogang was born in 1958 in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southern China. At the birth of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, Zhang’s parents were forced to give up their government posts, leave him and his three brothers behind, and move to a “study camp” in the countryside. Following the collapse of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, Zhang was accepted into the prestigious Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in Chongqing, in 1977. After graduation, he joined a group of young avant-garde painters and came to prominence during the 1980s. Since then, his work has been featured in countless international exhibitions, and he continues his career as one of China's leading and most highly sought-after contemporary artists.

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