ZHANG Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaogang was born in 1958 in Kunming, in the Chinese province of Yunnan. He is recognized as a member…


Zhang Xiaogang was born in 1958 in Kunming, in the Chinese province of Yunnan. He is recognized as a member of the Chinese artistic avant-garde, and as a spokesperson for a whole lost generation. During the Cultural Revolution, many young people were sent to the countryside for several years to work and complete their “political training”. Their living conditions were harsh, far from their families. When they finally returned to town, their reintegration was difficult. The bitterness born of this experience will have a decisive impact on Zhang’s artistic creations. A graduate of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1982, he was greatly influenced by the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Millet.

During the 1995 Venice Biennale, he exhibited the first portraits from his Bloodline series, now recognized and exhibited worldwide. His subjects are inspired by old photos showing sparse families, weakened by the cultural revolution. The characters in uniform, silent, with closed eyes, are so many anonymous symbols of individual stories denied and silenced. They are linked by a red thread, a symbolic color of the revolution but also a link of blood and suffering, a thread originating in a forbidden city depicted as the keystone of Chinese society, a metaphor for an all-powerful state. This series is considered on the international scene as the manifesto of a whole generation of contemporary Chinese artists, and the expression of “the Chinese soul”. The artist often resorts to areas of bright colors, contrasting in an almost schizophrenic way with the greyish monochrome tints of his paintings, as if to signify the deep generational and ideological fractures within Chinese society. He continues to explore, with these portraits, the consequences of the cultural revolution or the one-child policy on private and social life, denouncing both totalitarianism denying people and individualism atomizing them in a China now converted to excessive capitalism. He currently lives and works between Sichuan and Beijing.


Zhang Xiaogang: Memory + ing, Daegu Art Museum, Korea
Zhang Xiaogang’s Oil on Paper, Gallery Pace, Hong Kong 

Zhang Xiaogang, Pace Gallery, 508 and 510 West 25th Street, New York, USA

Beijing Voice: Zhang Xiaogang, Gallery Pace, Beijing, China

Zhang Xiaogang: 16:9, TodayArt Museum, Beijing, China

The China Project: Zhang Xiaogang—Shadows in the Soul, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
The Records, Gallery Pace, Beijing, China

Zhang Xiaogang: Revision, Gallery PaceWildenstein, New York, USA

Zhang Xiaogang, Sara Hilden Museum, Tampere, Finland

Amnesia and Memory, Gallery Artside, Seoul, Korea
Home-Zhang Xiaogang, Beijing Commune, Beijing, China

Zhang Xiaogang 2005, Max Protech, New York, USA

Umbilical Cord of History Paintings by Zhang Xiaogang, Hong Kong Art Center, Hong Kong
Zhang Xiaogang: Forget and Remember, Galleria Davide Di Maggio, Milan, Italy
Zhang Xiaogang: Forget and Remember, M3–Galerie Gianluca Ranzi, Antwerp, Belgium

Forget and Remember, Galerie de France, Paris, France

Max Protetch Gallery, New York, USA

Les Camarades, Galerie de France, Paris, France

Bloodline: Big Family-1998, Hanart Taibei Gallery, Taiwan

Bloodline: Big Family-1997, Gallery of the Central Academy of Faine Arts, Beijing, China

Zhang Xiaogang, Galerie De France, Paris, France

Lost in Dreams, Gallery of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing, China


Voyage and Awakening - FAAM - Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan

Future Pass - National Taiwan Museum of Art, Taichung, Taiwan
39 Steps up the Corridor - Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong
Future Pass World Exhibition - Today Art Museum, Beijing

Future Pass - Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb - The Pace Gallery, New York, USA
Rising - 34FineArt, Cape Town, South Africa
Chapelle vidéo #1 - musée d´art et d´histoire, Saint-Denis, France
Future Pass-from Asia to the World - Collateral event of the 54th Venice
Biennale - Abbazia di San Gregorio, Venice, Italy
Portal: Contemporary Chinese Paintings, Prints, Photographs and Sculpture,
ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, Coral Gables (Miami), Finland

Beijing-Havana - New Revolution Contemporary Art, National Art Museum of Cuba, Havana, Cuba
Reshaping History - Chinart from 2000 to 2009,China National Convention Center, Beijing, China
Clouds - Power of Asian Contemporary Art, Soka Art Center, Beijing, China
The Offical Opening of Minsheng Art Museum Thirty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China

In Other Words, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, China
A Gift to Marc Polo, Venice International University, Island of San Servolo, Italy
The China Project, G.O.M.A (Gallery of Modern Art), Brisbane, Australia

The Revolution Continues: New Art from China, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
China’s Revision: Focus Beijing, Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany
Christian Dior & Chinese Artists, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

Chinese Painting: Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic
Bloodline exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
Writing on the Wall: Chinese New Realism and Avant - Garde in the 80s and 90s, Groninger Museum, The Netherlands
Encounters, Pace Wildenstein, Beijing, China
Avantgarde China: 20 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan
Go China! The Chinese Avant-Garde, Groningen Museum, Groningen, the Netherlands
Half-life of a dream: Contemporary Chinese art from the Logan Collection, San Francisco, USA Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
Part I: Case Studies of Artists in Art History and Art Criticism, SZ Art Center, 798 Art District, Beijing, China
Our Future: The Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
This is Asia?: Chinese, Japanese and Korean Contemporary Art, Andrew James Art, Shanghai, China
Collector’s Eye, Gana Art, New York, USA

Society Art, Moscow , Russia
Starting from the Southwest, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, China

Mahjong - Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
China now: Kunst in Zeiten des Umbruchs, Sammlung Essl - Kunsthaus, Klosterneuburg, Germany

Food and Desire, South Silk Road. Beijing, China
Plato and His Seven Spirits, OCT Contemporary Art Center, Shenzhen, China
Reinventing Books in Chinese Contemporary Art, China Institute Gallery, New York, USA

Regeneration - Contemporary Chinese Art from China and the U.S., Arizona State University, Art Museum, Tempe, USA

Mahjong - Chinesische Gegenwartskunst Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Germany
The Second Triennial of Chinese Arts, Guangzhou Museum, China

Stone Face BANG - Chinas first group printing exhibition, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai. China
Shanghai 5 Biennale: Techniques of the visible, Shanghai Biennale - Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Contemporary Lithography Group Exhibition, L.A. Gallery Beijing, Beijing, China

From China with Art, Indonesian National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
Chinese Contemporary Art, Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest,
Hungary Chinart, Museo dArte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, Italy

BABEL 2002, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
Chinese Modernity, Armandao Alvares Penteado Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Image is Power, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
Paris-Pekin, Espace Cardin, Paris, France
CHINaRT, Museum Kuppersmuhle, Duisburg, Germany

The Initial Image: Contemporary Art on Paper, Yibo Gallery, Shanghai, China
Hot Pot, Kunstnemes Hus, Oslo, Norway
Towards a New Image, 20 Years of Contemporary Chinese Painting, National Gallery, Beijing, Shanghai Art Museum, Sichuan Province Art Museum, Chengdu and Art Museum of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou, China
Passe-murailles, Musee de Picardie, Amiens Rouges, Galerie Loft, Paris, France
C'est Moi, C’ est Nous, Galerie de France, Paris, France

Portraits de Chine Contemporaine, Espace Culturel F. Mitterand, Perigueux, France
Futuro, Contemporary Art Centre of Macau, China
Kwangju Biennial, Kwangju, Korea
The Dutch Gasunie, Groningen, Holland, Netherlands
The Chengdu Movement, Canvas International Art, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Inside Out, Asia Society, New York, MoMA San Francisco, Seattle, Monterey, USA
8+8-1, Selected Paintings by 15 Contemporary Artists, Schoeni Gallery, Hong Kong

Avant Garde Chinese Artists, Soobin Gallery, Singapore
China Now, Kulturprojekte, Basel, Switzerland
Faces and Bodies of the Middle Kingdom, Chinese Art of the Nineties, Gallery Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic

CHINA! Kunstmuseum, Bonn, travelled to Vienna, Singapore, Copenhagen and Warsaw
Four Points de Rencontre: Chine 1996, Galerie de France, Paris, France

Asia Pacific Triennial, Australia
Reckoning with the Past, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

46th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Avant Gardes Artistiques Xineses, Centre d’art Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain

22nd International Biennial of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

New Art from China: Post-1989, Marlborough Gallery, London, UK
Chinese Fine Art in the 1990s: Experiences of China, Chengdu, China
Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

Guangzhou Biannual, Guangzhou, China

I Don’t Want to Play Cards with Cezanne, Asia Pacific Art Museum, California, USA

China Avant Garde, China National Gallery, Beijing, China