Rothko Museum announces “Back and Forth: The Art of Tan Ping” to be held in Latvia


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The Rothko Museum and Wei Gallery announce that the artist Tan Ping will have a major exhibition “Back and Forth: The Art of Tan Ping” at the Rothko Museum in Latvia from May 31st to August 25th, 2024. This exhibition honours Tan Ping's hybrid identity as an artist; not only was he educated in Beijing and Berlin, but his work fuses European and Asian elements – including the work of Mark Rothko. After this major exhibition, which will be the premiere show during the summer season at the Rothko Museum, the artist will have another European show at the Museum Ludwig, Koblenz in Germany.

The curator Philip Dodd has said in the 100page catalogue that accompanies the exhibition:“ Tan Ping's sophisticated and sensuous art challenges the tired but powerful orthodoxy visible in certain kinds of art history and in many contemporary accounts of wider historical developments that we are destined to live a silo existence where 'our' cultures are only contaminated (rather than enriched) by those of others.......Born in China and educated in Beijing and Berlin, Tan Ping is making art that is a salutary reminder that often the most arresting art - the kind that can respond to the intertwined complexity of our world - does indeed belong, but to various places and to a variety of traditions at the same time. Never has such art been needed more than at present.”

“Back and Forth”, the title of this exhibition, captures the restless inventiveness of Tan Ping's life as an artist. He has moved from woodcut to acrylic and back again, from figuration to abstraction, from diminutive to large-scale, from minimalist to maximalist, from painting to space and performance.

He was resident in Berlin when the Wall was demolished in '89 and it is hard not to see across all of his work an attempt to hold contraries together, to explore art and life beyond boundaries and borders: psychological; social and aesthetic.

Through 40 years of art practice, Tan Ping has been exploring many fields such as painting, printmaking, multimedia, design and so on. Tan Ping's exhibitions have been held all over Europe, and his works have been collected by the National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Ludwig Museum, Arizona State University Art Museum, and other important institutions in China and abroad. 

About the Artist

Tan Ping was born in Chengde, Hebei province in 1960 and he went to study in Beijing at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1980. In China the 80s were an extraordinary time of 'opening up' when translations of western art books, and exhibitions of contemporary western art flooded into China.

He won a DAAD scholarship to Berlin in 1989 where he studied until 1994 when he returned to China and was one of the founders of the Design School of CAFA. He was the Dean of the Design School of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Vice President of CAFA, Vice President of Chinese National Academy of Arts. And he is currently the Director of the Experimental Art Committee of China Artists Association and the Director of the National Contemporary Art Center in Chinese National Academy of Art.

About the Curator

Philip Dodd has won many awards for his work in the field of art and especially for his work between China and Europe.

He has been the Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1997-2004 which the then Prime Minister Tony Blair said had an ‘unparalleled reputation for innovation and new ideas’.

He has curated exhibitions in London, Beijing, Moscow, Singapore and New York, with artists as various as Yoko Ono, Sean Scully, Hsiao Chin, Kang Haitao and Damien Hirst. He was one of the curators of the 7th Guangzhou Triennial and was one of the curators of the 2023 Chengdu Biennale. 

About the Exhibition

Curator: Philip Dodd

Exhibition Period: 31st May 2024– 25th August 2024

Opening Day: 31st May 2024 4p.m.

Exhibition Location: Rothko Museum, Latvia

Organizer: Rothko Museum & Wei Gallery

Courtesy of the Artist, Rothko Museum & Wei Gallery.