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Jiang Dahai (1946 - )
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Jiang Dahai (1946 - )
ObscurationAcrylic on canvas
150 x 150 cm (59 x 59 inches)
Signed and dated on the reverse
Executed in 2011
Born in Nanjing, China, Jiang’s studies and pursuit of art were interrupted by the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, which saw the dominance of Socialist Realism within art. Jiang, who had been planning to attend university the year the Revolution began, put his education on hold, instead choosing to become a teacher. When Jiang did attend university in 1982, while the teaching remained partially in the shadow of the Revolution, he was introduced to broader global tendencies. Jiang became particularly interested in French painting and developed a strong interest in European artists such as Balthus and Morandi.
Jiang left his native country for France the year he finished his studies and remained there until 2008. The move was prompted by a desire to learn about Western art, and his hopes of assimilating different artistic traditions from across the globe. While today his practice remains engaged with the subject of Chinese landscape painting, it has been informed by the artistic theories of the West. The typically Western techniques he employs in his work use abstraction to reimagine traditional Eastern subjects and demonstrate clear parallels with Minimalism and American Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko.
Jiang has cited abstraction as a way of capturing certain truths within landscapes. His most acclaimed works include his famous cloud paintings, which emulate the appearance of mist and vapour; a motif common in Chinese paintings. To create this effect, Jiang stipples the paint across the canvas – a modern method used predominantly in Western action-painting. This integration of Western abstract painting and Chinese art history is a testament to how Jiang’s work offers a bridge between Eastern and Western art.
Currently residing between Paris and Beijing, he has had retrospectives at The National Museum of History (2015), Taipei in Taiwan (2015) and at the Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2009).