Curated by Cui Cancan, “Tan Ping: What Is Painting 1984-2021” was unveiled at the First Gallery Space and Second Gallery Space of Tang Contemporary Art in Beijing. It showcases over 100 drawings, paintings, prints and videos, which comprehensively review the oeuvre of Tan Ping from 1984 and also includes the latest series he created in 2021.
Exhibition View of “Tan Ping: What Is Painting 1984-2021”
Quite a few selected representative work by Tan Ping and a new series that he has created since the pandemic broke out, are displayed at the First Gallery Space. The developing context of his creation is systematically sorted out from the perspectives of “point”, “line” and “surface” at the Second Gallery Space. Both of them constitute the artist’s reply to “What Is Painting.”
Tan Ping: What Is Painting 1984-2021
By Cui Cancan
As a leading artist in the field of Chinese abstract art since the 1980s, Tan Ping’s work provides us with a way to re-understand the grammar, structure, and experimental methods of painting which evidences that he has also become an important coordinate and reference point for contemporary Chinese painting for the large number of rich and complicated cases that he has created.
In his painting career over nearly 40 years, Tan Ping has experienced many periods of transition in artistic thoughts, from the traditional academic realism and naturalism in the early 1980s to the formal significance of still life, landscape and figure paintings after 1984, as well as a series of prints and paintings that he experimented with using color blocks, lines, black and white relations, spatial order, material substance in the beginning of 1990, hence he began the visual exploration of abstract art. After 2000, Tan Ping’s experiments of forms have developed towards a broader scope of painting, with writing, smearing, superimposing and covering alternately emerging again and again.
Tan Ping, The Plaster Statue in Front of the Window, Acrylic on canvas, 39 × 35 cm, 1984Tan Ping, The Black Sea, Acrylic on canvas, 49 × 49 cm, 1986Tan Ping, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 95 × 100 cm, 1990Tan Ping, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 95 × 100 cm, 1990
Since then, abstract art was just been a shell and tool for Tan Ping as he freely borrowed Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Happening, Fluxus, Abstract Expressionism and Site-specific Art, to continue the game of washing, grafting, and regeneration. Tan Ping turned from research on the form of image to the research on “painting”, and he has conducted research on the motive, conditions, language, and concepts of paintings. Finally he has returned to the original start of painting, the foundation and fundamental grammar of painting and he tried to answer the simplest and the most difficult question: what is painting?
Tan Ping, Drawing, Charcoal on paper, 110 x 79 cm, 2021Tan Ping, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 100 cm, 2021Tan Ping, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 160 x 200 cm, 2021Exhibition View of “Tan Ping: What Is Painting 1984-2021” at the First Gallery Space
Is it a point, a line, a surface, or a symphony of them? Is it a form, a concept, a process, or a result? Is it a product of rationality, design and modular construct? Or is it a wave of sensibility, passion and the soul? These questions constitute the existential philosophy of painting, the multiple values and vast vision of painting after the Realism.
Tan Ping, The Black Life, Acrylic on canvas, 160 x 200 cm, 2008Tan Ping, History, Acrylic on canvas, 300 x 400 cm, 2015Tan Ping, Untitled, Colored woodblock printing, 85 x 175 cm, 2020Tan Ping, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm, 2021Exhibition View of “Tan Ping: What Is Painting 1984-2021”at the Second Gallery Space
Tan Ping has endowed painting with a completely new significance in the global landscape of contemporary art and a post-modern context since the 1980s. Painting ceased to be a bridge between classics and modernism, but it has become a connection between contemporary art and cultures in the East and West since 1945. He has extended the discussion of “abstraction” to a broader scope of artistic thinking, not in images but in the definition of art: an abstraction that is not in the sequence of realism and the concrete, keeps open, diverse, and integrated in a world of painting that cannot be defined and conceptualized.
Painting is the intersection of time, space and an individual. These personal, realistic, and historical experiences are privately owned. However, the beliefs and ambition that Tan Ping has upheld over the past 40 years, and his persistent experiments on “What Is Painting” provide an experience we can share.
About the exhibition
Curator: Cui Cancan
Opening: 2021.5.15 4pm
Duration: 2021.05.15 -06.30
Venue: First Gallery Space and Second Gallery Space of Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing
Courtesy of the artist and Tang Contemporary Art, edited and translated by Sue/CAFA ART INFO