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b. 1959, China

Tang Zhigang Biography

A gifted painter since childhood, Tang Zhigang grew up in a military family in Yunnan Province, spending  several years of his childhood living in the shadow of the  Kunyang  Labour Farm where his mother was a warden. Tang joined the PLA army directly after graduating from high school; as a career soldier he continued to paint and became known for his expressionistic and bluntly honest portraits of a soldier’s life. In 1979 his battalion was among the forces sent to  Vietnam  for  combat  action  in  the  Sino-Vietnamese  conflict.  In  the  late  1980s  Tang  entered the  oil  painting  department  of  the  PLA  Art  Academy  in  Beijing and began to explore a new language of visual iconography, drawn from personal and collective experience, of the chaos of everyday life lived within an overarching framework of military ideologyand political controls. By  the  late  1990s  Tang  had  created  his  iconic Children in Meeting series, masterfully painted and ostensibly humorous scenarios of children dressed up as adult soldiers and political leaders and acting out the serious business of closed-door meetings and political conferences.

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In 2008, at the height of his popularity and success as an artist, Tang largely withdrew from public life and entered a period of introspection and experimentation, focusing both on his teaching at the Yunnan Art Institute and on developing a deeper understanding of his own life experiences, particularly his childhood in Yunnan. In his WorldPlay series being presented at Hanart TZ Gallery, Tang is showing for the first time his new paintings created over the last three years: in many of these works Tang continues to use child-like figures as avatars, but he has undertaken a dramatic change in both his painting language and content: rather than the control and precision of his Children in Meeting series, in the new works Tang’s brushwork is freer  and the colours more muted. The main change has been in the internal narrative of the works: rather than stylized iconographic figures in formally arranged settings, the children (and other figures) in these works appear to have emerged fluidly and directly from Tang’s own dreams or memories, like snatches of once remembered songs or lines from a poem, infused with an intensely emotional honesty.

Tang Zhigang Featured Artworks

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WordPlay: Self-Portrait by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: Self-Portrait, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
55 x 39 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: Reading by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: Reading, 2013Poster Colour on Paper
55.5 x 79 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: Portrait of a North Korean by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: Portrait of a North Korean, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
38.5 x 53 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: The Winged Spirit by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: The Winged Spirit, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
54 x 78 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: Cool by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: Cool, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
55 x 75.5 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: Sunflowers by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: Sunflowers, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
53.5 x 78 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: The Small Conference Room by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: The Small Conference Room, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
54 x 78 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
WordPlay: The Current Situation by Tang Zhigang contemporary artwork works on paper
Tang ZhigangWordPlay: The Current Situation, 2014Poster Colour on Paper
54 x 77.5 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery

Tang Zhigang Recent Exhibitions

Tang Zhigang Represented By

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