Tang Contemporary Art is proud to announce the opening of Back to the Beginning: A Luo Zhongli Retrospective Exhibition 1965-2022 on 8 June 2022, across both of the gallery's Beijing spaces. Featuring more than 200 works, this exhibition is Luo Zhongli's first major retrospective in Beijing and his most comprehensive retrospective to date.
Curated by Cui Cancan, the show will focus on Luo's work from 1965 to the present and trace the changes in his art that have taken place since the beginning of Reform and Opening. The exhibition explores recurring themes and artistic ideas from his fifty-year career, examines personal triumphs and setbacks, and revisits the return to human-centric art that started with Father.
Back to the Beginning returns to the beginning of a kind of personal liberation in Luo Zhongli's art.
The ten-section exhibition begins with a drawing for Father (1980), showing how Luo painted an ordinary person like he would a great leader. Around this time, he shifted away from extolling collectivism and toward depicting individuals. Years also connects to the creation of Father, revealing what informed this masterpiece and how it defined Luo's view on his circumstances and creative themes for decades.
With Father as the guiding star in the centre of the exhibition space, the Timeline: 1965-2022 section reflects on larger events through smaller moments. From the several hundred works Luo Zhongli has created, Back to the Beginning offers selected fragments of his life or moments in time related to personal triumphs and setbacks, creating a new timeline of art history that reflects on the present through the past. A Few Stories delineates Luo's transition from thematic works, Native Soil Art, and his Daba Mountains series to art historical considerations. Compared to the larger realities presented in the timeline, A Traveler's Diary is lighter and more subtle, showing how works on paper shaped Luo's transformative artistic language.
If the first four sections centred on time and history present four different perspectives on the past, then the latter six sections utilise stories, spaces, and places to depict the unbreakable bond between Luo Zhongli and the Daba Mountains. Labor series obviously references Luo Zhongli's real perspective on and human concern for the Daba Mountains and the people who live there. In these works, he praises the simplicity of rural people and hard labor. Night Lanterns examines spirituality and faith in the Daba Mountains, while Love highlights Luo Zhongli's return to humanity and his calm declaration of primitive desires. Through vanishing light and the repeated depiction of old subjects, Rural Nostalgia represents disappearing traditions in the Daba Mountains. The next section compares Luo's early storybooks with more recent works, reflecting a shift from storytelling to grammatical analysis. Finally, A Dialogue with Art History shows Luo Zhongli's transcendence of realism and subject matter and his reflections on history and life.
Back to the Beginning reflects the shifts in Luo Zhongli's different series and the changes in his artistic and historical context throughout his painting history for more than fifty years. The show looks back on Luo's life and work and re-situates his art within the history that produced it, attempting to uncover the relationships between an individual and his historical and artistic context. We present Back to the Beginning to reveal this journey through history and the triumphs and setbacks in Luo Zhongli's art over more than five decades.
Curator: Cui Cancan
May 12, 2022
Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.
D06 (1st Space) and B01 (2nd Space), 798 Art District
No.2 Jiuxianqiao Road
+86 105 762 3060
+86 105 978 9379 (Fax)
Tues - Sun, 11am - 5.30pm (Nov - Apr)
Tues - Sun, 11am - 6.30pm (May - Oct)