Su Xiaobai’s “And there’s nothing I can do” at Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art

Su Xiaobai’s “And there’s nothing I can do” at Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art

TKG Foundation for Arts & Culture hosts “And there’s nothing I can do” by Chinese abstract artist Su Xiaobai at Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, in Kobe, Japan, through November 28, 2018. The exhibition showcases 25 sets of never before seen abstract paintings, nearly half of which were created recently by the artist.

Born in 1949 in Wuhan, China, Su Xiaobai initially studied at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1985, where he mastered the skills of expression through rigorous training in academic realism. It was later during his graduate studies at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf Su was inspired by Modernism and Contemporary Art ideologies which resulted in his gradual shift from figurative art to abstract art. As the artist quotes in the official release, “What is deliberately concealed behind the abstract paintings is exactly the content that I want to depict.”

The exhibition “And there’s nothing I can do,” includes iconic artworks made from the traditional material of ‘Chinese lacquer’ with many of those stretching as much as two meters. As written in the release, “Through experimenting with traditional Chinese lacquer, Su Xiaobai recreates a discourse between materiality and painting. Over an accumulation of time, the multilayered concoction of textures and pattern narrates the story of a lacquer work being conceived, ‘wrapped’ and then ‘evolved,’ and how this materiality is an indication of a spontaneous and free creative process.”

The artist began to reflect and explore the infinite possibilities in materials from his early works created in during the 1990s when ‘materials’ were still used as poetic symbols to recount a state of meditation.

The artist says, “For a long time, I have ceased to focus on depicting imagery that specifically represents certain content in paintings. If one must insist on adopting the ‘imagery,’ then I have a very different understanding of it, for instance, I perceive it as colors, or the composition of the painting.”

This exhibition according to the museum, “strives to present the comprehensive and wholesome process of Su Xiaobai’s artistic practice: from conceiving to making, and its final physical manifestation. For Su, art making is neither confined in the studio nor defined by the moment he wields his paintbrush; rather the process factors in one’s lingering thinking process.”


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Founder: Louise Blouin




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