Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze

Xie Xiaoze

NEW YORK

April 6 – June 17, 2017

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto No. 4 (Calvin) 多伦多大学费雪珍稀书籍图书馆 #4 (卡尔文)

2015

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

36 x 52 in (92 x 132 cm)

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University (Zi +1167) 耶鲁大学拜内克古籍善本图书馆 (Zi +1167)

2015

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

36 x 42 in (92 x 107 cm)

The Queen’s College Library at the University of Oxford (K24, New Testament) 牛津大学王后学院图书馆 (K24, 新约)

2016

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

36 x 52 in (92 x 132 cm) 

Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University No.3) 劫后余生(清华大学图书馆抗日战火中幸存书籍 #3)

2017

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

48 x 64 in (122 x 163 cm)

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

36 x 72 in (92 x 182 cm)

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

24 x 36 in (61 x 92 cm)

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University 哥伦比亚大学埃维利建筑与艺术图书馆

2016

Oil on canvas 布面油画

36 x 60 in (92 x 152 cm)

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, #2 多伦多大学费雪珍稀书籍图书馆 2

2015

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

36 x 52 in (92 x 132 cm)

The Morgan Library and Museum (f318) 摩根图书馆与博物馆 (f318)

2017

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

48 x 82 in (122 x 208 cm)

Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University, No.1)

2017

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

48 x 74 in (122 x 188 cm)

Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University, No.2)

2017

Oil on linen 亚麻布油彩

48 x 74 in (122 x 188 cm)

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on April 6th of Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze. Born in Guangdong, China in 1966, Xie Xiaoze 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 L. & Phyllis Wattis Professor in Art, Department of Art & Art History, Stanford University, California, USA.

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 matter in many different ways but it is paintings of libraries with which he is most closely associated. The first painting in the Library (Western Books) Series dates from 1993 but the theme has still not been exhausted. In late 1994 when he returned to China for the first time since moving to the United States, he began working on the Chinese Library Series which is also still ongoing. Ten years later in 2005 a change of emphasis began with the Museum Library Series in which the treatment of the photographic sources is generally more specific.

The current exhibition includes paintings based on photographs that Xie took in libraries in Beijing, Kathmandu, New York, Oxford, New Haven, and Toronto. 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. Dramatic new additions to this theme are the works titled Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance at Tsinghua University) Nos. I, 2 and 3. After the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, Tsinghua University moved to the south of China and many books were gravely damaged. The partially burnt, scorched pages of these Chinese books and manuscripts attest equally to the long history of suffering caused by global conflicts in the twentieth century and to the constant risk of the effacement of historical memory whether caused by accident or deliberately.

The ancient leather and vellum bound volumes depicted in paintings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto and the Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscript Library 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. The prominence given to the metal shelving in The Morgan Library and Museum (f 318) emphasizes the fragility of the books with their decaying bindings.

As a painter, 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. The somber tonality and large scale of his paintings 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.                     

前波画廊诚挚地宣布《韧:谢晓泽新作》将于2017年4月6日在纽约开幕。谢晓泽1966年出生于广东,从清华大学及北京中央工艺美术学院毕业后移居美国,并在德克萨斯州继续深造学业。他现为美国加利福尼亚州斯坦福大学艺术系的终身教授。

作为一个写实主义画家,谢晓泽在其艺术生涯早期便找到了一种独特的语言来表达自己对中国历史以及当今世界时事一直抱有的浓厚兴趣,即将图书馆中一堆堆的书籍以及档案室中储藏的材料作为绘画主题。他通过不同的方式来探索这个主题,却以其图书馆系列画作著名。早于1993年谢晓泽就创作了“图书馆”系列中的第一件作品,然而他至今依然在深入探讨这个题材。他移居美国后于1994年末首次回国,便开始了“中国图书馆”系列油画,一直持续至今。十年之后,谢晓泽于2005年将作品重心转移到了“博物馆图书馆”系列,对于相片素材的处理也变得更为细致。

本次展览的作品画面基于谢晓泽在北京、加德满都、纽约、牛津,纽黑文以及多伦多的各个图书馆拍摄的照片。与德国摄影家康迪达·赫弗的摄影作品着重表现世界著名图书馆的华丽建筑不同,谢晓泽则更注重于那些藏书本身的细节。虽然他很少在作品中展现书籍的作者、标题等,但画面中破旧的封皮以及受历史事件严重破损的书籍,反而诉说了很多信息。

中国的图书馆在上世纪受到了最为严重的破坏,而谢晓泽的“中国图书馆”系列则突出表现了这一辛酸的历史。《劫后余生(清华大学图书馆抗日战火中幸存书籍#1,#2和#3)》是此系列中引人注目的新作。自1937年日本侵华后,清华大学被迫转移到南方,图书馆藏书受到了大规模的损害。那些有着烧损残页的书本和手稿,成为了中国在20世纪的全球争端中所长期遭受的苦难的佐证,也提醒了我们历史记忆永远都面临着被恶意抹杀或无意淡化的危险。

作品《多伦多大学费雪珍稀书籍图书馆》和《耶鲁大学拜内克古籍善本图书馆》中用皮和羊皮纸装订的古老书籍,经历了好多个世纪的动荡都变得十分脆弱,所幸现在都被珍藏在学术图书馆中。而《摩根图书馆与博物馆 (f318)》中的书籍被置于金属书架上,以破损的书脊突出书的脆弱。

作为绘画艺术家,谢晓泽也是一个文化历史学家,对“文化、记忆和历史的脆弱”以及当下印刷业的衰落都深有感触。 其大幅尺寸、色调阴郁的作品赋予了这些书卷一种非凡的庄严感。艺术家一方面对书本和手稿等静物进行了详尽描绘,另一方面其流畅的笔触以及色块处理效果拉近了与抽象的距离,两者轻重并行,保持平衡。

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