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Xiaobai Su




The Langen Foundation near Neuss is dedicating a compre- hensive solo exhibition to the Chinese-German artist, Xiaobai Su. From 17 January to 24 May 2010 the exhibition »Xiaobai Su - The Dynasty of Colours« which has come about through collaboration with the ZDF, will be on show in the architecturally clear and elegant exhibition spaces of the Langen Foundation. ZDF is Germany's national public television broadcaster.

Xiaobai Su, who was born in 1949 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, where he learnt the craft of traditional Chinese painting. With his highly individual works, distinguished by their unusual conception and artistic perfection, already early on Xiaobai Su made a name for himself in the Chinese art scene. At the end of the 1970s he was awarded a graduate stipend for the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he studied with Prof. Konrad Klapheck and finished his studies in 1992 as a master-class student. Inspired, among other things, by the atmosphere at the Art Academy, which had a rationalist philosophical flavour, Xiaobai Su developed his individual, abstract language of signs out of simple and, at the same time, unmistakable forms. Currently he is living and working in Shanghai.

In Xiaobai Su’s large works, a strict, formal structure joins with an expressive application of colour. The artist applies layers of saturated, intense coloured lacquers with a brush on canvas, hemp or wood. The colour protrudes three-dimensionally, forming lines, patterns and a unique surface structure. This structure is intentionally deployed by the artist as an independent, artistic shaping element and lends his works their unusually tactile character.

With his abstract, non-representational paintings, Xiaobai Su strives for a universality that suspends cultural borders. Colour itself becomes the object of his works. The resulting painting always hovers between order and passion, harmony and dissonance. Despite the utmost painterly precision, the artist's paintings elude definition. The viewer becomes aware of an infinity of possibilities for seeing and understanding.

Xiaobai Su composes poetic chromatic patches, dynamic structures and unique patterns into electrically charged paintings that lead Western clichés about Chinese painting into a void. Skilfully, Xiaobai Su questions our habits of seeing and patterns of thinking, and enables the process of seeing itself to become consciously perceptible.

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