Zhang Xiaotao

China 1970

Painting, Animation

Zhang Xiaotao
Zhang Xiaotao
March 8, 2015

Zhang Xiaotao is an outstanding cross-media artist active in Chinese contemporary art circles, whose creative forms cover painting, photography, animation, and installation. His work focuses on spiritual torture and struggling behind the compressed modern myth of today China.

Born in 1970 in Hechuan, Zhang Xiaotao graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. He then became a teacher in the Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu and this lasted from 1996 to 2009. In 2010 Xiaotao taught in the New Media Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute.

When Xiaotao was 7 he visited the shore of the powerful Yangtze River, where he was playing with his friends, where Xiaotao almost drown before an adult came to his rescue. That tentative, struggling moment between life and death influences the artist’s work expansively.

Through painting rodents, insects, and other emblems of decay, Zhang transfers this contemplative wonder into the realm of the grotesque, situating the viewer amongst the lowly and parasitic and creating sensuously emotive metaphors for the human condition. Oscillating between the macro and micro, the engulfing scale of Zhang Xiaotao’s paintings is at odds with his tiny subjects, each canvas encapsulating a sense of ’universe’ within their humble depictions. Approaching painting as an archetype of beauty, Zhang’s surfaces are vivacious in their intensely rich detail. Mesmerizing with lush textures and soulful hues, Zhang magnifies the conception of space and physicality, creating a sense of infinity within the minute and claustrophobic.

In Ants Moving Things No. 3, the collective will and movement of a colony is imparted as equally heroic and oppressive within an industrial setting suggestive of social realist propaganda, while in Travel, the plight of a drowning rat manifests individual conscience with poignant tranquility, sorrow, and grace.

Recently, the artist shift his artistic focus and started creating animated videos. In Sakya, Zhang Xiaotao’s first video animation film, his focus is most direct, depicting the struggle to retain spirituality and religious devotion within the context of China’s all-consuming push to modernize. Using sci-fi stylized computer gaming 3-D video imagery, the artist attempts to illustrate meditative states of Tibetan Buddhism. In The Adventures of Liang Liang, the artist looks to the language of a child for spiritual meaning, literally animating his son’s drawings, with the aim of bridging the gap between father and son/adult and child, to illustrate the multi-layered, multi-spatial understandings and communications in every day existence.

Xiaotao’s art has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions across the world. His work Condom Series: Enlarged Props – Crystal And Fishes 2 was sold for US$64,500 at Sothebys Hong Kong in 2007.

The artist currently lives and works in Beijing and Chongqing.


YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2014In The Realm of MicrocosmicPekin Fine Arts, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2014Plum Flower PatternsWhite Box Art Center, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2014Empty ShadowJin Ji Hu art Museum, Suzhou, ChinaSolo
2014Liquid Culture - China & Korea New Media Art ExhibitionSeoul Museum of Art, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2014Lost PortraitLong Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2014Translated Concussion - Chinese New Media Art Techniques and Practice since 2000MOCA, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2014Community - Scenery Narratives in Contemporary ArtArt Center of Jin Jiang Park, ChengduGroup
2014Art of LightUpto To Art Space, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2014The Visible and The Invisible - Video and Photography from China TodayJohn and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Florida, USAGroup
2014China Arte Brazil - Contemporary Art of China Since 2000OCT Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2014International Plasticarts Exhibition and SeminarArtGallery of Seoul University, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2014Meta-Spectacle - Multi-Logic of the Pictorial WorldShijiazhuangArt Museum, Shijiachuang, ChinaGroup
2014Echo – Multidimensional Traditions of Chinese Contemporary Art ExhibitionHE Art Gallery, Wuhan, ChinaGroup
2014Echo – Multidimensional Traditions of Chinese Contemporary Art ExhibitionHamburg Art Museum, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2014Experiment of LivingDEZI Art Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2014Attitude - Contemporary Art Invitational ExhibitionBeijing, ChinaGroup
2014Nanjing International Invitational Exhibition of ArtJiangsu Art Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2014China Pavilion at the 55th Venice BiennaleWenzhou Art Museum, Wenzhou, ChinaGroup
2014I-start Luxetrown Children Art FestivalA4 Contemporary Arts Center, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2014The 12th National Art Exhibition The Section of Experimental ArtToday Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2013TransitionMuseum Of Contemporary Art Chengdu, Chengdu, ChinaSolo
2013China Pavilion at the 55th Venice BiennaleArsenal, Venice, ItalyGroup
2013Pure Views: New Painting from ChinaSt. Monica Arts Center, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2013PiecesChengdu Blue roof Art Gallery, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2013The Garden of Forking PathsOCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2013Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and ArchitectureShekou Pier Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2013From Painting to AnimationNew Media Arts Center of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2013Animation is a Layer of SkinTimes International Arts Center, Guangzhou, ChinaGroup
2013Contemporary Art collection ExhibitionHe Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2013HomelandChongqing Art Museum, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2013China Contemporary Digital Art ExhibitionToday Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2013Exit–4th International Experimental Media Art ExhibitionGuling Street Avant-Garde Theatre, Taipei, ChinaGroup
2013Echo–Chongqing Fine Arts since 1949Chongqing Art Museum, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2013Mirror–Boundary: Video Art ExhibitionPereira Art Gallery, Colombo, Sri LankaGroup
2013Roots of Relation–China & Korea New Media Art ExhibitionSongzhuang Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2013Paths Crisscross Footpaths bet Fields – Artworks of Chinese Young ArtistsLong Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2012Spiritual EncodingKuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, ChinaSolo
20127th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary ArtQueensland Art Gallery, Queensland, AustraliaGroup
2012Holland International Animation Film FestivalHolland Animation Film Foundation, Amsterdam, the NetherlandsGroup
2012Israel International Animation FestivalTel Aviv Studios, Tel Aviv, IsraelGroup
2012Tokyo International Animation FestivalTokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2012The Third Nature: China’s Reconstruction - The 2nd Project Exhibition of 4th Guangzhou TriennialGuangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, ChinaGroup
2012Sociological Landscape – 1st Suzhou Jinjihu BiennaleSuzhou Basel Contemporary Art Museum, Suzhou, ChinaGroup
2012Roaming the World – Zhang Xiaotao and Pierre ExhibitionChengdu Contemporary Art Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2012Biology & Ecology Sino-Dutch Contemporary Art ExhibitionSongzhuang Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2012People and Things: Through MemoryJinji Lake Art Museum, Suzhou, ChinaGroup
2012The 1st China International (King Bonn) New Media Art FestivalShenzhen Media Group, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2012Creative Joy—Research Exhibition on Post-70s ArtistsWuhan Art Gallery, Wuhan, ChinaGroup
2012Wisdom—Contemporary Famen Temple Buddhist Exhibition of ChinaXi’an Art Gallery, Xi’an, ChinaGroup
2012Inward Gazes– Performance Art Documenta of China 2012Macao Art Museum, Macao, ChinaGroup
2012The 6th Asian Youth Animation ContestGuiyang Golden Sun Convention and Exhibition Center, Guiyang, ChinaGroup
2012Benevolence and Art—Non representative Works Exhibition of 21 Chinese ArtistsWhite Box Museum of Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2012Manila International Animation FestivalManila, PhilippinesGroup
2012Now – Korea, China - Sino-Korean Contemporary Art ExhibitionSky Art Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2012Vanishing GrowthHimalayas Art Space, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
20129th China Independent Film Annual ExhibitionRCM Art Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2012Calling Wisdom - Works by Ma Yiping and his Students in 50 yearsWenxuan Art Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2012Micro Salon 2012Tokyo Art Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2012Creative Joy - Research Exhibition on Post-70s ArtistsQingdao Art Gallery, Qingdao, ChinaGroup
2012Conceptual Renewal - A Brief History of Chinese Contemporary Photography ArtSishang Art Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011SakyaWhite Box Museum of Art, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2011Expression of Chinese Contemporary ArtToday Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Unable Absence: You should not miss itWenxuan Art Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2011Chengdu BiennaleChengdu Contemporary Art Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2011World Printed Art ExhibitionHaeinsa Temple, Seoul, KoreanGroup
2011Mountains and Rivers – Speechless PoemBerne Art Museum, Berne, SwitzerlandGroup
2011New Age: Australia-China International New Media Arts ExhibitionQUT Art Museum, AustraliaGroup
2011GamesWhite Box Museum of Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Relationship: New Chinese Construction ArtMuseum of Art for the XXI Century, Rome, ItalyGroup
2011New Age: Australia-China International New Media Arts ExhibitionNew Media Art Center of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2011Mysterious SelfVenetoVisual Art Archives, Verona, ItalyGroup
2011The 5th Asian Youth Animation ContestGuiyang Golden Sun Exhibition Hall, Guiyang, ChinaGroup
2011Animpact- Seoul International Animation FestivalSeoul Animation Art Center, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2011Calcutta New Media Entertainment ForumCalcutta Exhibition Hall, Calcutta, IndiaGroup
2011The Exhibition of Interdisciplinary Between New Media and FilmNew Media Art Center of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2011Flowers of Chaos - China Animation ProjectArt Verona Fair, Milan, ItalyGroup
201115 Days Painting ProjectWhite Box Museum of Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Spectrum - China Independent Animation ProjectA4 Art Center, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2010EpidemiologyGuangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, ChinaSolo
2010Material and Code: Disciplinary Crossings of Cinema Studies and New MediaChicago University, Chicago, USAGroup
2010Beijing TimeSantiago de Compostela, Santiago, SpainGroup
2010Reshaping History, China Art 2000-2009National Convention Center, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Vision: The Future That Encompasses the past — Art Exchange Program between China and TaiwanTina Keng Gallery, Taipei, ChinaGroup
2010Chinese Character—Contemporary Art Research DocumentaTrue Color Museum, Suzhou, ChinaGroup
2010Heart — Forefront of Contemporary Architecture in China ExhibitionVitra Design Museum, Weimar, GermanyGroup
2010Arena: A Post Boom in BeijingHazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, Hazelhurst, AustraliaGroup
2010Flower of ChaosVeneto Video art Archive, Verona, ItalyGroup
2010The Big BangWhite Rabbit Museum, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
2010What is Art?Beijing Times Art Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Digital AsiaXi’an Fine art Institute, Xi’an, ChinaGroup
2010Pure Views: China New paintingsLouise Blouin Foundation, London, UKGroup
2010Nanjing BiennialJiangsu Province New Art Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
20102nd New Media Art Triennial of Beijing Film AcademyBeijing, ChinaGroup
20104th Chongqing Folk Painting ExhibitionChongqing University, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2009Beijing TimeCasa Asia Matadero Madrid, Madrid, SpainGroup
2009Heart — Forefront Exhibition of Contemporary Architecture in ChinaCIVA, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
20096th Independent Film Annual ExhibitionRCM Art Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2009Ink Not Ink — Chinese Contemporary Ink Painting ExhibitionDrexel University Art Museum, Philadelphia, USAGroup
2009Sichuan SchoolJapan-China Friendship Center, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2009Ability- International New Media Art ExhibitionCAFA Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
20091st Chongqing Youth Art BiennialChongqing International Convention and Exhibition Center, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2009German-China Contemporary Art ExhibitionWuhan Museum, Wuhan, ChinaGroup
2009Public Space ReconstructionBritish Council and Chongqing Urban Planning Bureau, Chongqing, ChinaGroup
2009Beyond GlobalizationBeyond Art Space, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2009Ink Not Ink–Chinese Contemporary Ink Painting ExhibitionWarsaw Palace Museum, PolandGroup
20093rd Asian Youth Animation ContestGuiyang International Conference Center, Guiyang, ChinaGroup
2009White Rabbit Collection from Chinese Contemporary ArtWhite Rabbit Museum, Sydney, AustraliaGroup
20094th Independent Film ExhibitionLi Xianting Film Fund, Beijing, ChinaGroup
200913th Microwave International New Media Arts FestivalHeritage Discovery Museum, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
2009About Love? About War?Stux Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2009Contemporary Art Rebirth of ChinaPalazzo Reale Museum, Milan, ItalyGroup
2008Microscopic NarrationIberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaSolo
200855 Days in ValenciaValencia Museum of Modern Art, Valencia, SpainGroup
2008Transgressive Body, TAPE Art Center, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008Time-Lag, the New Power of Chinese Contemporary Art, Magee Art Gallery, SpainGroup
2008The Revolution ContinuesSaatchi Gallery, London, UKGroup
2008Reflective Asia - 3rd Nanjing Triennial AsiaNanjing Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
20086th International Ink Painting Biennial of ShenzhenShenzhen Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2008People – History – Exhibition of Chinese Art in the 20th centuryChina Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008RENDEZ – VOUSMarella Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008SemiosisChina Square, New York, USAGroup
2008From Head to ToesStux Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2008Poetic Realism – A Reinterpretation to South of Yangtze RiverFrancisco Tomásy Valiente Art Center, Madrid, SpainGroup
2008Intimate TrendKuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, ChinaGroup
2008Free FallChen Linghui Contemporary Space, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2008Sichuan MovementNational Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta, IndonesiaGroup
2008Paratissima 2008: The Off Event of ArtissimaSan Salvario, Torino, ItalyGroup
2008New Media Lounge of Black Rock Art Video in Art Miami 2008Art Miami Pavilion, Miami, USAGroup
2008Lovely Blossoms and Full MoonYUZ Museum, Jakarta, IndonesiaGroup
2008The Supplemental HistoryGuangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, ChinaGroup
2007RebirthArthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology of Beijing University, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2007Desires without LimitsDolores de Sierra Galería de Arte, Madrid, SpainSolo
2007NightShanghai e-Arts, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2007Starting from SouthwestGuangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, ChinaGroup
2007Chinese WhisperOsage Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
20073 Languages and 3 ColorsUM Gallery, Seoul, KoreaGroup
20073rd Guiyang Art BiennaleGuiyang Art Museum, Guiyang, ChinaGroup
2007From New Figurative Image to New PaintingTang Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007The Art of Seduction - From Egon Schiele to Andy WarholMinoritenkloster Tulln, AustriaGroup
2007Alteration of VisionTang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, ThailandGroup
2007China NowCobra Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam, NetherlandGroup
2007Wild BeastsMook Gallery of Contemporary Art, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007Floating - New Generation Art in ChinaNational Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2007TransparenceTibet Art Museum, Lhasa, ChinaGroup
2007Works in ProgressBeijing Tokyo Art Project, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2007Beyond of Image - China New PaintingShanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2007Interpret ShenzhenShenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2006Beautiful ImbroglioHe Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaSolo
2006Itinerant EntertainersTilton Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2006City SkinShenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2006Internal InjuriesMarella Arte Contemporanea, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2006Poetic Realism: A Reinterpretation to South of the Yangtze RiverRCM Art Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2006Enchanting Images of the Changing WorldSammlung Essl Museum, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2006The Truth Mingled with the FalseHeyri Art Foundation, Seoul, KoreaGroup
2006Fitment OCATOCAT Contemporary Art Center, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2006Beyond DimensionNanjing Square Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2006The Road Map 2Beijing Tokyo Art Project, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2006Varied ImagesShanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2005DreamscapesInternational Art Foundation 3.14 Bergen, NorwaySolo
2005Dream Factory - Rubbish HeapTokyo Gallery, JapanSolo
2005DreamscapesM.K. Ciulionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, LithuaniaSolo
2005China Contemporary PaintingFondazione Cassa Di Risparmioin Bologna, Bologna, ItalyGroup
2005Live in ChengduModern Art Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
20052nd Prague BiennialPrague, CzechGroup
20052nd Triennial of Chinese ArtsNanjing Art Museum, Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2005Conceptual Art - Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary PaintingsTap Sea Gallery, Macao, ChinaGroup
20052nd Chengdu BiennialModern Art Gallery, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2005The Road Map798 Space, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2005Chinese Contemporary Young ArtHangar-7, AustriaGroup
2005City SkinTap Sea Gallery, Macao, ChinaGroup
2005Chinese Contemporary PaintingPalazzo Bricherasio Museum, Torino, ItalyGroup
2004Dream Factory - Rubbish HeapBeijing Tokyo Art Projects, ChinaSolo
2004Forbidden Senses?—Sensuality in Contemporary Chinese ArtEspace Culturel Francois Mitterand, Perigueux, FranceGroup
2004China Today PaintingInfeld-Haus der Kulturen, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2004China’s Photographic PaintingArt Seasons Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2004Asian FactoryGalleria d’Arte Modema, Bologna, ItalyGroup
2004Hua Jia DiArt Seasons Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2004New Perspectives in Chinese PaintingMarella Arte Contemporanea, Milano, ItalyGroup
2004Artificial HappinessRMIT Museum Melbourne, Melbourne, AustraliaGroup
2004Live in ChengduShenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2004Exhibition of Nominates for Art DocumentationArt Document Center, Wuhan, ChinaGroup
2003Materialistic DecayAkie Aricchi Art Contemporary Gallery, Paris, FranceSolo
20033rd National Exhibition of Oil PaintingNational Art Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2003Made HappinessJiang Art Center Beijing, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2003Left Hand and Right Hand — Sino – German Exhibition of Contemporary ArtBeijing 798 Space, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2003China’s Photographic PaintingBeijing Normal University, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2003Jigsaw Puzzle of AsiaHong Kong Art Museum, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
2003IllusionGuangdong Art Museum, Guangdong, ChinaGroup
2003Image of imageShenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2003Links between Two PointsTokyo Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2002DesireKunst Akademie Muenster, GermanySolo
2002Dream - Chinese Contemporary ArtCAC, Manchester, UKGroup
2002Korean Contemporary Art FestivalSeoul Art Center, Seoul, KoreanGroup
2002Triennial of Chinese ArtsGuangzhou Art Museum, Guangzhou, ChinaGroup
2002Beijing UkiyoeBeijing Tokyo Art Project, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2001Flowers in the DreamTokyo Gallery, JapanSolo
2001Up-Down-Right-Left, Feminism and MoreModern Art Museum, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2001Reshuffle–Contemporary Chinese Art ShowShenzhen Sculpture Institute, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2001Mythology of ChinaYidian Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2001Dream–Chinese Contemporary ArtAtlantic Foundation, London, UKGroup
2001Youth in TransitionHe Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, ChinaGroup
2000Fabricated ImagesOakland Pacific Bridge Gallery, USSolo
2000Joyful timeGallery Akie Aricchi Art Contemporary, Paris, FranceSolo
2000Joyful timeGallery Hartmann, Munich, GermanySolo
2000Time of Reviving - Contemporary Art Exhibition of China 2000Upriver Gallery, Chengdu, ChinaGroup
2000Nanjing Contemporary International Art Exhibition 2000Jiangsu Province Art Museum Nanjing, ChinaGroup
2000Between Dreams and Picturesque Meaning - Arts in Vienna 1900 to 2000Cappenberg Art Gallery, GermanyGroup