Presenting a combination of Zhao Gang’s most recent work and work from the mid-nineties, this exhibition is an excerpt of Gang’s ever-expanding practice. When related to the larger arc from which it is taken, both this excerpt and his body of work evade characterization. In part and on the whole, Zhao’s practice refuses to be defined by a historical style, linear trajectory, or any other thematic narrative. His works’ images and ideas span the gamut of wild eroticism to deconstructed landscapes, and they make references to ancient and modern art history alike. For Gang, the act of painting itself can not be essentialized. It involves breaking down his own knowledge of painting and pursuing any and all possible directions away from the work itself. The end result does not meet him face-to-face, but instead becomes that which he has turned his back upon.
Zhao Gang made his artistic debut as a member of the Stars Group, one of the first avant-garde artist groups to open the era of contemporary art in China, when he was just 18 years old. Shortly thereafter he pursued formal art education in Europe then New York, where he lived for over two decades, developing a diverse body of work as his perspective became distinctively international. Over the course of his wanderings, Zhao Gang has been featured along-side prominent painters such as Liu Wei and David Diao; participated in PERFORMA, the Guangzhou Triennial, and the Yokohama Triennial; and presented solo exhibitions at the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art, the Suzhou Museum, and Santiago’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. This is his first solo exhibition at Tang Contemporary.