La Nuit profonde 夜深沉 – Recent Works of Gao Xingjian
Venue: iPreciation (誰先覺), 50 Cuscaden Road, HPL House #01-01, Singapore 249724
Private Preview: Mar 16, 2023
Exhibition Opens to Public: Mar 17 – Apr 1, 2023
As the venerated artist Gao Xingjian (b. 1940) reaches the age of 83 in January this year 2023, he received the highly decorated Commander of the Legion of Honour (Le Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur) from French president Emmanuel Macron on January 27 in Élysée Palace. Internationally acclaimed artist and Nobel laureate (2000) Gao Xingjian is a novelist, playwright, poet, theatre and film director, painter, photographer and philosopher. iPreciation is honoured to present 28 important ink on paper paintings by Gao, of which 17 are new pieces of works created between 2020 – 2022. This exhibition celebrates this recent award and Gao’s lifetime achievements.
Born in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China in 1940, Gao moved to Paris in 1987 and became a French citizen in 1997. Touted as ‘the modern Renaissance man’ by the 2008 Milan Arts Festival, Gao paints solely and only with ink, an ancient medium said to be imbued with the spirit of the painter. Despite his departure from the western medium in the 1970s, traces of oil painting techniques such as the layering of several different inks still linger in his works.
Gao focuses on the intuitive depictions of his mindscape and inner vision. He listens to classical music before and during painting, allowing his consciousness to dive deep into the chords and transforms them into brushstrokes. Then he stops when his mind tells him to. At this point, the painting is far from complete. Gao would leave it on its own for days, months or even years. He would then come back to it someday to make edits as he deems fit, or perhaps never. Feeling satisfied, he mounts the painting, and it is finally realised with an extemporaneous title.
What the viewer sees is a visual illustration of the stream of consciousness – the blurry nature of the human mind as our thoughts surface and then quickly disappear; It is our state of mind at that particular moment that can’t be described in words. In the words of the artist – “painting begins where language fails” – while we may all be looking at the same piece of work, what is comprehensible is largely solitary and personal.
Over the years, he has received numerous awards, including Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (1992), Premio Letterario Feronia, Rome, Italy (2000), Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (2002), The American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award (2002), Lions Award, New York Public Library, USA (2006), La Milanesiana Award, Italy (2008), Gold Award from the European Merit Foundation, Luxembourg (2010), and The gold medal of the French Renaissance (2012); At the Nobel Prize award ceremony, the Swedish Academy stated that Gao received the award “for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity”. His writings have been translated into 48 languages, and his plays continue to be produced in various theatres throughout the world each year. In 2003, the City of Marseille, France hosted “Year of Gao Xingjian” (L’Année de Gao Xingjian), a major event where his paintings, his play “August Snow” and other artistic creations were showcased. In 2008, he was a guest of honour at La Milanesiana, a prestigious annual international arts festival attended by around 100 distinguished writers, poets, musicians and film directors from all parts of the world. In the same year, Hong Kong held a Gao Xingjian festival to celebrate the spectacular achievements of this multi-disciplinary artist. Recently in 2019, Gao was awarded the distinguished Premio Roma for his book “Per un nuovo Rinascimento”.
Since 1985, more than seventy solo exhibitions of Gao’s ink paintings have been held in museums and galleries in Europe, the USA, and Asia; his works have also been selected for numerous group exhibitions and international art fairs. In 2005, a retrospective exhibition of Gao was held at the Singapore Art Museum. In 2015, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Museum of Ixelles held a double exhibition for Gao. The Museum of Ixelles held a major retrospective of his paintings, while the Royal Museums designated an exhibition room for six of his monumental paintings, which they have permanently collected.
His works have been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, United States), Musée Guimet (Paris, Italy), Maison de la Culture de Bourges (France), Bibliothèque de l’Université de Marseille-Provence (France), Muse-um of Far Eastern Antiquities (Stockholm), Krapperups Konsthall, Malmö (Sweden), Leibnitz Gesellschaft für Kulturellen Austausch (Berlin), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore) and National Museum of History (Taipei).
Sign up now to receive an invitation to private previews
Sign up for the iPreciation newsletter now to receive private preview invitations, updates on our upcoming exhibitions, first-hand announcements and more.
Please fill in the form below to subscribe.