Xiao Fan Ru
February 19 – March 13, 2004
White Box is pleased to present Xiao Fan Ru’s first solo exhibition in New York City and the United States. Born in Nankin. China, Xiao Fan relocated in 1983 to Paris, France where he has since developed his career, gaining recognition and critical acclaim throughout Western Europe.
The exhibition presents New York audiences with a series of new paintings that demonstrate Xiao Fan’s strong traditional training at the Academy in Nankin. China and how. since his arrival in France, he began incorporating distinctly Western visual traditions. The new Bubblegum paintings, on view from February19 2003 through March 13. 2004, offer the Viewer a lively and dynamic interplay and overlay of Western popular imagery reinterpreted through a juxtaposition of Xiao Fan’s personal lens. The majority of Chinese-born artists living and working in Europe and the US have switched from painting to concept-oriented installation work, prominently displayed at most project spaces, art fairs, galleries, biennales and other international encounters. In Xiao Fan’s case. it is clear that painting continues to be the preferred mode for layering a multiplicity of visual connections. those that build bridges between his eastern memory bank and Western visual culture.
In his new paintings Xiao Fan has progressed from earlier work, centered around balloon-shaped images, to figures selected from mass media and thrown into an infinite forest of transformations and hybridisation. As Hou Hanru writes in the accompanying catalogue: ‘They are arrestingly dramatic and transcendent, tragic and playful, “sexy” and provocative. Obviously, there is a kind of position taking in this reorganisation, however, it’s anything but politically correct. Instead, it pushes us to face a highly challenging world, that is, once again, unfathomable. provocative and full of playful joy.”
Xiao-Fan himself has stated: “The outside world passes through my mind and imagination. mingling with imagery emerging from within. it results in a seamless, stream-of~consciousness style and a method of relating images to one another. Everything is interwoven, entangled, and somewhat pre-conscious. My brush recreates each object by giving it a new material presence: translucent and made of paint.‘ Referring specifically to the exhibition’s Bubblegum series Xiao Fan has said: “ The world grows organically and compared to photography, painting gives you a greater freedom with representation. Painting can be more playful and get closer to the artist’s imaginary world. The process of painting itself, spontaneous and half»conscious, opens up greater experimentation. You can play with the elements, deform them and put them into a new context thus changing their initial meaning”.
The exhibition has received generous support from Maarten lager, Galerie Quintessens. Holland: Martin C.Liu, New York; Tjerk Wiegersma, Artline, Belgium and White Box Members.
For further information and/or images please contact 212-714-2347 or infmhlteboxnyorg