Exhibition period: 16 May – 1st June 2013
Venue: iPRECIATION(誰先覺) 50 Cuscaden Road HPL House #01-01 Singapore 249724 Tel 65 6339 0678
Striving to stay optimistic with reality, Zhang Jian tries to search beauty from mundane life. Born in 1968, Zhang is one of the third generation contemporary Chinese artists who have experienced the Tiananmen incident during their college years. However, he is separated from the protagonist of cynical realism, one of the major movements of 1990s in contemporary Chinese art, in terms of his aesthetic propensity which focuses more on personal subject than on grandeur social ideology.
Graduated from the fresco department of Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 1993, Zhang’s artworks have expressed fresh visual images and individuality. Zhang’s pictorial treatment to the figures and landscapes shows a sublimation visual expression of beauty and time. Primarily interested in the balance between fleeting moments and eternality, a sense of obscurity and tranquility has been created out of the clever choice of colors, contrast and soft glow in Zhang’s paintings.
Two Boys series depict toddlers playing with water splashing from the tap at the corridor and evoke a sense of comfort and nostalgia to the viewers. The artist has used quick brushstrokes of white and blue to create puddle of water in foreground. Reflection of light on that run through from the background to the foreground has created depth to his canvas. The broad use of grey in the Two Boys series makes this series unique and different from his other paintings. The innocence and pleasures from the children bring attentions to the viewers of the happiness that exits in urban lives. In his widely celebrated paintings, the artist captures a subtle cheerfulness and invites viewers to enter a light-hearted, contemporary realist world.
Zhang’s works constantly challenge the eyes, encouraging his viewers to look intently at his exquisitely rendered images. Depicting the same scene from various angles and perspectives, Zhang has capture the moment of time in his works. In the Shadow series, Zhang has depicted an unknown female figure standing with her head turning back looking at the reflection of her body. This subject demonstrates the concept of narcissism in art. Experimenting with abstraction and figuration, the artist has rendered the interior of the room with scratchy handling of loose wide brushstrokes and pastel tone of pink, orange, and yellow, adding a subtle sense of vibration to the viewers’ eyes.
The compositions of Café 1, 2 & 4 are meant to give a sense of incompletion as they are images of ordinary lives cropped out like snapshots. Focusing on the poise of the lady who is relaxing one hand on her forehead and holding onto a mirror on the other hand, Zhang has employed visual abstraction to create cinematic effects to his paintings. The interplay of light and reflection from the mirror hand-held by the female subject has result in an optical dynamism married with the natural scenes constituting an essential part of the artist’s oeuvre.
In the painting titled High Noon, Zhang has depicted a reclining nude overlooking the window, atypical subject in many western old masters’ canon. The texture of fabrics, materials and skin has brought out the sensuality of the subjectivity of this painting.
Zhang’s works have been exhibited at museums in Asia, Europe and America and also have been auctioned at Sotheby’s and Christie’s.