Zhang Xiaogang, a prominent Chinese artist in the contemporary art scene, has unveiled his first solo exhibition in Shanghai. From March 4 to May 7, the Long Museum West Bund showcases “Mayflies,” which marks Zhang’s first public solo exhibition in the past three years. The exhibition features over 80 artworks, including oil paintings on paper and canvas, installations, and sketches.
The mayfly, which is known for its short lifespan and large summer clusters, is often associated with philosophical ideas about the transience and insignificance of human existence in Chinese literature. Zhang’s exhibition draws inspiration from this idea and explores the fleeting nature of life.
Zhang spent more time at home than ever before in the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the creation of the “Mayfly Diary” series. This collection of paintings on paper depicts surreal and dramatic scenes in enclosed household spaces, such as the bedroom and bathroom. These works of art resemble comic strips that reflect Zhang’s feelings and thoughts about various subjects.
At the exhibition’s opening on March 4, Zhang explained that he began painting on paper in 2018 while preparing for a solo exhibition in New York. He found the medium intimate, relaxed, and versatile, allowing him to express his fragmented ideas and reflect on the passage of time.
Zhang has established an imagery world of his own, making him an indispensable figure in contemporary art history, according to Li Jia, the exhibition’s curator. Li’s goal was to create a channel that would allow audiences to enter the artist’s world and hopefully find comfort and inspiration in art.
Zhang’s exhibition is an excellent opportunity for art lovers to view his latest creations, which reflect his unique artistic vision and insight into the human experience. His choice of subject matter and medium highlights the importance of finding beauty and meaning in life’s fleeting momentshttp://www.thelongmuseum.org/en/exhibition-369/detail-1826.html Zhang Xiaogang’s “Mayflies” exhibition showcases over 80 of his latest artworks, including oil paintings on paper and canvas, installations, and sketches. Inspired by the short-lived mayfly, Zhang explores the fleeting nature of life, while his “Mayfly Diary” series depicts surreal and dramatic scenes in enclosed household spaces. Zhang’s art reflects his unique perspective and insights into the human experience, and his exhibition offers a glimpse into his artistic world.
Zhang Xiaogang’s sale of his painting, Bloodline: Big Family No. 3, for a record-breaking price of $12.1 million in 2014 marked the rise of contemporary Chinese art in the global market. Since then, Zhang has become a prominent figure at art auctions both domestically and internationally. Recently, a painting from the same series sold for $1.83 million at an event jointly presented by two auction houses Yongle and Phillips.
Despite his success in the art market, Zhang remains humble and does not let the auction price affect him. He believes that the paintings circulating in the market were created more than a decade ago and that he has moved on. Although he is grateful that his paintings continue to be well received, he does not see the auction price as a reflection of his current work.
Zhang explains that while it was exciting at first, years of market fluctuations have taught him to remain grounded and unaffected by market trends. He believes that artists should always create for the future and focus on their work’s content rather than the market value. Zhang states, “What matters is your work, and how you keep going forward.”
At a recent exhibition in Shanghai, Zhang’s later oil paintings, the Stage and Light series, were featured. These two series contrast with Mayfly Diary, which shares a similar theme.