Gao Xingjian

China 1940


Gao Xingjian
Gao Xingjian
April 3, 2017

Gao Xingjian is a famous Chinese artist, primarily known as a novelist and the first Chinese-language Nobel Laurate, but as well as a praised painter and critic. He is a versatile artist with a profound relationship with his works – creating in different mediums, he stretched out the limits of language as far as was possible for him, only to find painting on the other side that literature couldn’t reach. In that sense, his oeuvre is a comprehensive artistic answer to metapoetic questions and existential angst.

no privacy from the press for the first Chinese nobel prize in literature for cultural books published in french
Gao Xingjian – Dream Mountain, 2005- Image via Sotheby’s

Living Through all Big Shifts in China and Moving to France in Voluntary Exile

Gao was born in Ganzhou, China in 1940. He graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1962 from the Department of French and in his earlier years worked in a bookstore, as a teacher in Middle School until he became a screenwriter and playwright for the Beijing Theatre in 1980. From that period he is known to have brought the European influence in the theater and especially for writing in the manner of absurd and avant-garde drama. In 1986 he has diagnosed lung cancer by mistake, which led to a 10 months pilgrimage journey on the Yangtze River and as a result in writing his novel Soul Mountain that eventually brought him the Novel Prize in 2000. In 1987 some of his work were banned by the Chinese government, after which he left China, and asked France for permanent citizenship which was given to him in 1998. Xingjian left China, never to come back to live there.

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Gao Xingjian – Artwork – Image via Pinterest

Ethereal Ink Paintings

The works of this Nobel Prize winner are difficult to place in the regard to tradition and influences; they neither belong fully to the Western nor Eastern culture, but rather depict his attitude that can be labeled as nothingism according to some critics. Upon moving to Paris started painting for a living, and managed to secure his finances in order to fully devote himself to writing. But, ink painting soon became a passion as well. Gao novel Soul Mountain is regarded as a work of autobiographical fiction, and in a way, his paintings have the same impulse – he treats them as specific mindscapes, expressions of inner visions on rice paper. These stark and gloomy ink paintings emanate the feelings of loneliness and exile, but Gao himself wouldn’t want you to compare them with his writings. As well, this austerity given in watercolor hues of white, black and gray, can call upon a different kind of experience that can be found looking into them. Namely, one can find them creating something similar to the cathartic feeling of Zen philosophy, overcoming the superficial urge for a clear and direct meaning.

Ink paintings – specific mindscapes, expressions of inner visions on rice paper

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Gao Xingjian – Enchant Me – Image via uplifers

Only the Rules that the Artist Created for Himself

Since 2000, after receiving the Nobel Prize for literature, everything changed for Gao Xingjian. Even though his work was not as appreciated in China, he gained massive international recognition for his published books and outstanding interest in his prolific career. And his work is regarded as a important point in the cultural exchange of traditions. What is maybe even more important, it has a universal value and spreads a message in the manner of a note from one of his catalogs – An artist must walk his own path, and if there are rules, they should only be rules that he himself has created.

Gao Xingjian lives and works in Paris, France.

The artist is represented by KUNZT.GALLERY, from Miami.

Featured image: Gao Xingjian  – image via rue89.nouvelobs.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only

2017 ALISAN FINE ARTSAlisan Fine Arts at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2017Group
2016 Celebrating 35 Years of Promoting Chinese Contemporary ArtHong Kong Group
2016Gao Xingjian – Layers of Light, Ink in MindAberdeen,MUSÉE D'IXELLESGroup
2016GALERIA SENDAGaleria Senda at Art Brussels,BruxellesGroup
2015GAO XINGJIAN. RetrospectiveBrussels Group
2015ASIA ART CENTERAsia Art Center at Art Taipei 2015Group
2015GALERIA SENDAGaleria Senda at Art Brussels 2015Group
2015ALISAN FINE ARTSAlisan Fine Arts at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015Group
2015GALERIA SENDAGaleria Senda at ARCOmadrid 2015Group
2014POLÍGRAFA OBRA GRÁFICAPolígrafa Obra Gráfica at Art Basel Hong Kong Group
2013GALERIA SENDA,Galeria Senda at Contemporary IstanbulIstanbul, Turkey, Nov 7 – 10, 2013Group
2013Essence of Contemporary Chinese Art by Alisan Fine Arts Art Basel in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong KongGroup
2011“Selected Asian Cultural Council Fellows: Then and Now” Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong & Alisan Fine Arts, Hong KongGroup
2010Gao Xingjian, The Nobel Laureate & painter, New works ink on canvas & on paper Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Solo
2009Hong Kong International Antiques & Art Fair Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong KongGroup
2008New Works by Gao Xingjian 2007-2008 Alisan Fine Arts, Hong KongSolo
2008Gao XingjianMuseum Wurth la Rioja, Spain Solo
2007Gao XingjianThe Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame University, USA (solo)Group
2007The New Face of Ink Paintings – Modern Ink Painting Group Exhibition and Symposium, Sino Group Central Plaza Wan Chai, Olympian City 1 West KowloonGroup
2007Gao Xingjian: End of the World Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany Solo
2006Gao Xingjian Experience Singapore Art Museum, SingaporeSolo
2006iPRECIATION SingapurSolo
2006Gao XingjianInstitut Français, Berlín, Germany Solo
2006Gao XingjianMusée des Beaux-Arts, Bern, Switzerland Solo
2005Encre University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong KongGroup
2005Gao Xingjian Experience Singapore Art Museum, Singapur Solo
2005Gao XingjianGalerie Frank Pagès, Baden-Baden, Germany Solo
2004Gao XingjianGalerie La Tour des Cardinaux, Marseille, France Solo
2004“Encres” Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, FranceSolo
2004Gao XingjianCentre of Contemporary Culture, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2004Alisan Fine ArtsArtemis Fine Arts, New York, USA Solo
2003Gao XingjianMusée des Beaux-Arts, Mons, Belgium Solo
2003Gao XingjianMusée des Tapisseries, Aix-en-Provence, FranceSolo
2003Gao XingjianHaggerty Museum, Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA Solo
2003Gao XingjianMusée de La Vieille Charité, Marseille, France Solo
2003Gao XingjianFoire Internationale d’Art Contemporian (FIAC), Paris, France Solo
2002Gao XingjianAlisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Solo
2002Gao XingjianMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain Solo
2002Gao XingjianMuseo d'Arte Moderna, La Corogne, Spain Solo
2001Gao Xingjian – A RetrospectivePalais des Papes, Avignon, France Solo
2001Gao XingjianNational History Museum, Taipei, Taiwan Solo
2000Gao XingjianMorat Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Freiburg, Germany Solo
2000Gao XingjianEspace d’ art contemporani Le Cercle Bleu, Metz, France Solo
2000Gao XingjianAsia Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan Solo
2000Gao XingjianGalerie Frank Pagès, Baden-Baden, Germany Solo
2000Gao XingjianGalerie d’Art la Tour des Cardinaux, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, FranceSolo
2000Gao XingjianBibliothèque de l’Académie Suédoise, Stockholm, Sweden Solo
1999Le printemps du LivreCassis, France Solo
1999Gao XingjianBoulevard des Potes, Bordeaux, FranceSolo
1999Gao XingjianScène Nationale, Bayonne, France Solo
1998Gao XingjianAlisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong, ChinaSolo
1998Gao XingjianGalerie d’Art la Tour des Cardinaux, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France Solo
1998Gao Xingjian4 Arts, Caen, FranceSolo
1998Gao XingjianMichael Goedhuis Gallery, London, UK Solo
1997Gao XingjianThe Gallery Schimmel Center for the Arts, New York, USA Solo
1996Galerie d'art la Tour des cardinaux, l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France (solo)Group
1996Gao XingjianPalais de Justice, Luxembourg Solo
1996Gao XingjianEspace d'art contemporain le Cercle Bleu, Metz, France Solo
1996Gao XingjianAlisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong, China Solo
1995Gao XingjianTaipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan Solo
1994Gao XingjianEspace d’Art Contemporain le Cercle Bleu, Metz, France Solo
1994Gao XingjianTeatr Polski, Poznam, Poland Solo
1994Gao XingjianGalerie d’Art la Tour des Cardinaux, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, FranceSolo
1993Gao XingjianGalerie d’Art la Tour des Cardinaux, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France Solo
1993Gao XingjianMaison de la Culture, Bourges, France Solo
1993Gao XingjianGalerie Hexagone, Aachen, GermanySolo
1992Gao XingjianEspace d’Art Contemporain le Cercle Bleu, Metz, France Solo
1992Gao XingjianCentre Culturel de l’Asie, Marseille, FranceSolo
1991Gao XingjianEspace d’Art Contemporain Confluence, Rambouillet, France Solo
1990Gao XingjianCentre Culturel de Lumière de Chine, Marseille, France Solo
1989Gao XingjianOstasiatiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden Solo
1989Gao XingjianKrapperus Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden Solo
1988Gao XingjianL’Office Municipal des Beaux-Arts et de la Culture, Wattrelos, France Solo
1987Gao XingjianDépartement de la Culture, Lille, France Solo
1985Gao XingjianPeople’s Art Theatre, Beijing, China Solo
1985Gao XingjianBerliner Kunsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany Solo
1985Gao XingjianAlte Schmid, Vienna, Austria Solo