Postmasters Gallery is pleased to announce "HongKong Boyhood," an exhibition of paintings by DAVID DIAO, his first show of new works since his comprehensive career retrospective at the Ullens Contemporary Arts Center in Beijing in 2015.
Born in 1943 in Chengdu, China, Diao is known for complex weaving of personal history with the history of modernist painting and design. He superimposes images and text on luscious, largely monochromatic surfaces. Diao's paintings visualize data, both private and public, that maps his life's trajectory from mainland China through HongKong to the United States and New York where he has lived since 1964. "HongKong Boyhood" (a tip of the hat to Walter Benjamin's "Berliner Kindheit") is about the five and a half years Diao spent there.
Events surrounding the loss of my home in China due to the Communist takeover has festered in my mind my entire life. Beginning in 2007, I finally painted some 30 works that zeroed in on this obsession. The resulting show was entitled, "I lived there until I was 6..." and consisted of paintings of maps, site and floor plans, deeds and other material evidence that the house actually existed. All photographs were lost. It was a harrowing escape from Chengdu to HongKong in late October 1949.
The present show continues the story but focuses on the 5 odd years before emigrating from HongKong to the US in 1955. One memory is of my neighbor Li Lihua, the famous movie star, and her glamorous life downstairs in contrast to our refugee drabness. Maps to establish locale and emblems of institutions in my life became paintings. The internet is a wondrous source for images that supplant the lack of a private archive. But in the end what is a child's world but home, school, church. In working on these paintings I realize that during the entire period there I was mostly waiting to grow up. Besides America was beckoning. - David Diao, Jan 10, 2017
David Diao has been showing with Postmasters since its founding in 1985. This is his twelfth solo exhibition with the gallery.
这次的展览是那段逃难经历的延续，但集中在1955年从香港移民到美国之前的那五年不寻常的时间上。其中一段回忆是关于我的邻居李丽华，那个家喻户晓的电影明星和她楼下公寓里魅力无穷的生活与我家艰涩的逃亡生涯之间的对照。用来建立场所的地图和我生活中所出现过的机构的标志都变成了绘画。因特网是个令人惊奇的资料来源，可以找到所有能弥补个人档案缺失的图像。但归根结底，一个孩子的世界里除了家，学校，教堂又还能有些什么呢。创作这些作品的过程中，我意识到那些年里我其实一直都在等待着长大。另外，美国又是如此地充满着诱惑力。- 刁德谦 , 二零一七年一月十日