Tan Ping

[2019 SHINE Shanghai Daily] A 35-year journey of art exploration

A 35-year journey of art exploration

Tan Weiyun
A 35-year journey of art exploration
Ti Gong

Tan Ping's “+40m”

The solo exhibition “Duet” by Tan Ping, curated by art historian and critic Wu Hung, kicks off today at the Yuz Museum.

It’s a retrospective anthology of more than 40 paintings, prints, videos and on-site paintings, offering a glimpse of Tan’s 35-year journey of art exploration and his observations and perspectives of society’s evolution.

The work “+40m,” a 40-meter-long white line done by a single chisel-stroke, extends across the exhibition space. And an overlapping “timeline” made up of 30 works in five sets shows Tan’s experiments with different mediums and languages.

Unlike most retrospective shows, “Duet” is not chronological, but applies the artist’s thinking and working methods in his approach language and reality.

As one of China’s significant contemporary artists, Tan’s art journey echoes the country’s own developments.

The exhibition begins with his first woodblock printing and first watercolor. In 1980, Tan was admitted to the Central Academy of Fine Art to learn woodblock printing, and later became a teacher at CAFA. Between 1984 and 1989, he experimented to “simplify the object” by extracting more subjective interpretations, and finished acrylic paintings on wood such as “The Great Wall” and “Vision,” expressing the perplexed urban consciousness and talking about the certainty and uncertainty of time.

During the early 1990s, Tan studied at Berlin University of the Arts in Germany.

He became more aware of the differences between East and West as well as the clashes of cultures, which spurred his thoughts on identity, finishing a series of works, such as the oil painting “Balance” and multiple bronze etchings “Untitled.”

In 2004, Tan focused on the topic of life and death, triggered by his father’s illness.

He created the works like “Beauty” and “Birth.” Then his thoughts turned more profound, and Tan started to talk about identity, harm and life, and consciously put personal experience into broad social, historical and cultural contexts.

In recent years, he delved into color, time and body awareness, and did more “on-site painting” series.

“The 35 years of Tan’s art exploration and experimentation is a journey filled with deepening interplay of line and color, form and melody, action and cogitation, gradual accumulation and sudden enlightenment,” Curator Wu said.

“Along this journey, an uninterrupted ‘duet’ between oil paintings and woodcut prints has exerted a crucial role.”


Date: Through September 22 (closed on Mondays), 10am-9pm

Tickets: 60 yuan

Venue: Yuz Museum

Address: 35 Fenggu Rd