Xiao Bo: Two MethodsAug 25 - Oct 13, 2018
Gingko Space is delighted to announce Xiao Bo’s first solo exhibition, “Two Methods”, opening on August 25, 2018. This exhibition marks the artist’s first collaboration with the gallery, comprised of two recent seriesboth completed in 2018, “Four Quadrants” and “Sketch”.
As one of the leading figures among the 1970s generation Chinese artists, Xiao Bo’s has been pushing his painting practice forward by way of “reduction”. His works attempt to discover greater possibilities for the conceptions of painting by exploring its “peripheries”. Through which, Xiao Bo hopes to dissolve the “gaze” commonly adopted in looking at a painting, in order to undermine the conventional way of looking. The two visually disparate series on view in this exhibition, present the artist’s two varying methods to his consistent and lasting practice in painting.
The “Four Quadrants” series is an extension of the format Xiao Bo had adopted for his earlier practice. Those works, drawn from online footage of historical events, news broadcast and personal experiences appropriated the temporality of the moving images in order to dissolve their pictorial semantics and implications. If we were to consider his earlier works as the rational portrayals of the external world within an objective temporal framework, then the works since 2016 take the self as a conduit, with which the artist examines his attitude towards painting, so the subtle transformations over time would be visualized. In his most recent “Four Quadrants” series, Xiao Bao has divided the canvas into four equal rectangles and paints an image four times that are presumably the same. The layers of painted colors and the textures they render are not necessarily pre-planned but formed randomly in his process of painting, while the subtle differences experienced in the artist’s actions of painting afford him to achieve his goal of “introspection”.
Similar to the “Four Quadrants” series, bearing witness to the artist’s shift from reluctantly abandoning figuration to focusing on the gestures of painting, “Sketch” series has also relinquished the necessity of straddling its subject matter on natural phenomenon, as seen in his previous works. Rather, it adopts the natural dripping and flow of gelatin on canvas in rendering visual forms. As a result, the works eliminate pictorial associations and truly return to the essence of abstraction. In spite of the “Sketch” series sharing astonishing similarity with Jackson Pollock’s abstract expressionist paintings, they are however not only differentiated by former’s singularity in color, but also its elimination of texture on canvas, which brings Xiao Bo’s works closer to mechanically reproduced images, even though Xiao Bo’s impetus for this series was not to create visual reproducibility.
With the “Four Quadrants” and “Sketch” series, Xiao Bo’s adoption of these two methods in his painting practice allowed his focus to shift from the objective to the self. Let it be engaging means of repetition or investigating an established painting gesture, each has equally dissolved, distracted or even reconstructed people’s focus on painting. These kinds of approach led Xiao Bo to restore an “introspective” way of working. Should abstraction be understood as a way of distancing the individual from the physical and material world in order to reach for an ultimate spirituality, then, Xiao Bo’s painting practice has provided two methods on this path of exploration.
Xiao Bo, born in 1977, Hangzhou, is a graduate of Mixed Media Department of China Academy of Art. Xiao Bo has been the subject of solo exhibitions including, “Xiao Bo” (2018), Galerie Du Monde, Hong Kong; “One Another”(2017), 55 Gallery, Shanghai; “Stay With Me” (2015), 55 Gallery, Shanghai; “Clips-Segments” (2008), Platform China (2006), Beijing; “Frame” Platform China, Beijing and etc. His works have been the subject of group exhibitions including, “Willow Swallow” (2018), The Barn Contemporary Art Space, Shenzhen; “What Makes Us Who We Are” (2017), Xu Gallery, Shanghai; “Take Me Out”(2016), Chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai; “Daylight Crowd Notebook”(2016), Duge Private Art Space, Beijing; “AAC Art China Award nomination exhibition”(2014), China Agricultural Exhibition Center, Beijing; “Sketching” (2013), Platform China, Beijing; “Neither Same Nor Strange”(2013), Art Museum of China Academy of Art; Hangzhou; “Asia”(2012), Zendai Zhujiajiao Art Center, Shanghai and etc.