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The Art Show 2019

Booth A21, Park Avenue Armory

New York, USA

February 28 – March 3, 2019

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library (A965) 埃维利建筑与艺术图书馆

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library (A965) 埃维利建筑与艺术图书馆
2019
Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩
91.5 x 153 cm (36 x 60 in)

Chinese Library No. 66 ä¸­å›½å›¾ä¹¦é¦†66号

Chinese Library No. 66 中国图书馆66号
2018
Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩
121 x 183 cm (48 x 72 in)

Princeton University Firestone Library (Erasmi Adagio) 普林斯顿大学图书馆 (Erasmi Adagio)

Princeton University Firestone Library (Erasmi Adagio) 普林斯顿大学图书馆 (Erasmi Adagio)
2018
Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩
102 x 152 cm (40 x 60 in)

 

Princeton University Firestone Library (2941.1567) 普林斯顿大学图书馆(2941.1567)

Princeton University Firestone Library (2941.1567) 普林斯顿大学图书馆(2941.1567)
2017
Oil on canvas 布面油画
61 x 92 cm (24 x 36 in)

 

Chinese Library No. 62 中国图书馆62号

Chinese Library No. 62 中国图书馆62号
2017
Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩
152 x 152 cm (60 x 60 in)

Tribhuvan University Library Rare Book Room (Study No.2) 特里布文大学图书馆善本室 (习作 #2)

Tribhuvan University Library Rare Book Room (Study No.2) 特里布文大学图书馆善本室 (习作 #2)
2016
Oil on canvas 布面油画
61 x 92 cm (24 x 36 in)

Tribhuvan University Library Rare Book Room 特里布文大学图书馆善本室

Tribhuvan University Library Rare Book Room 特里布文大学图书馆善本室
2016
Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩
92 x 182 cm (36 x 72 in)

Scrutiny (Ancient Books): The Peony Pavilion

Scrutiny (Ancient Books): The Peony Pavilion
By Tang Xianzu (1550-1616) Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
, 2014
Archival inkjet print
54.5 x 77.5 cm (21 1/2 x 30 1/2 in)

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of recent works by the artist Xiaoze Xie. Born in Guangdong, China in 1966, Xiaoze Xie graduated from Tsinghua University and the Central Academy of Arts and Design, Beijing before moving to the United States and settling in Texas where he continued his studies in a very different environment. He is currently the Paul & Phyllis Wattis Professor in Art in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University.

As a realist painter by vocation, early in his career Xie found a way to combine his passionate interest in Chinese history and current world events with more formal concerns by focusing on the materials stored in archives and library stacks as the subject matter of his paintings. During his career he has approached this subject in many different ways, but it is paintings of libraries with which he is most closely associated.

Unlike the German photographer Candida Höfer whose photographs of famous libraries concentrate on the splendid architectural surroundings created to house collections of books, Xie focuses on telling details, only rarely revealing the name of an author or title of a volume.  A great deal is revealed, however, as he lingers on decaying bindings or more serious damage caused by historical events. In the 20th century Chinese libraries have suffered more than most, a fact treated with particular poignance in Xie’s Chinese Library series. The frayed pages of these Chinese books and manuscripts attest to the long history of suffering caused by global conflicts in the twentieth century. Ancient leather and vellum bound volumes depicted in recent paintings from his Library (Western) Series have also endured many centuries of turmoil and are often in a precarious state of preservation but they are now treasured and preserved in scholarly libraries.

Accompanying the paintings will be an installation of photographs that are part of Xie’s longstanding investigation into banned books. Xie scoured library catalogs in China to unearth old books that contained information deemed “dangerous” by various dynasties and rulers. Themes related to sexual pleasure, filial betrayal, political insurrection, and maps or descriptions of certain terrains were often censored, and the imperial class restricted general access to these books, allowing only certain elite citizens to see them. Censorship is, of course, not unique to China; in the past three years in the United States, books ranging from the Bible to novels by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison have been challenged, according to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, part of the American Library Association.

As an artist, Xie is also a cultural historian, deeply aware of what he refers to as “the vulnerability of culture, memory, and history” and the seeming decline of printed matter today. His experiences as a graduate student following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 became the impetus for his focus on banned books, and his photographs address the censorship of media he witnessed in China. In his paintings, the somber tonality and large scale endows the volumes with a singular gravitas. He achieves a remarkable balance between detailed recording of the appearance of his inanimate subject matter – books and manuscripts – and an increasing delight in fluid brushwork and painterly effects that often verge on abstraction.

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