Tina Keng Gallery

Su Xiaobai
Born in 1949 in Wuhan, China
Lives and works in Shanghai and Düsseldorf
Su Xiaobai studied painting at the Wuhan School of Arts and Crafts, the Wuhan Institute of Painting, and the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts before attending the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied traditional painting and honed his expressive techniques. He was later awarded a German Cultural and Art scholarship to participate in the graduate program offered by the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts in Germany in 1987. Under the guidance of Konrad Klapheck, Gerhard Richter, and Markus Lupertz, he strived to break away from the skills he mastered in Beijing, and developed a visual language rich in personal experience, life observation, and abstract symbols. 

Immersion in Western culture and separation from his homeland led to Su Xiaobai's artistic rebirth, consequently fostering a deeper understanding of his surroundings, the ability to rediscover the duality between art and object, as well as a renewed perspective towards the traditional culture of his ancestry. Upon his return to China in 2002, Su became inspired by lacquer — a thousand-year-old plant material and a symbol of Oriental culture. He began to paint lacquer on linen and bricks, later experimenting with oils, sackcloth, clay, vines, and wood as a substitute for oil on canvas. The artist paints layers of vibrantly colored lacquer in a purely structural and balanced composition, rendering a three-dimensional momentum and vitality. The thick, imposing texture stimulates a curiosity within the viewer, while the integration of cultural and historical heritage permeates the expressively colored abstracts. The seemingly arbitrary, yet meticulously deliberate handling of visual forms reveal the artist’s pursuit of aesthetic depth and quality. Standing at the cross-cultural convergence of Eastern and Western civilizations, the artist embodies the reciprocal philosophies and assimilation of the new globalized world, at the same time maintaining his personal sense of reinvention. 

Su Xiaobai has exhibited internationally, including Frieze New York, New York, NY, U.S.A. (2019); Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China (2019); Art Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany (2018); And there’s nothing I can do, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe City, Japan (2018); The Armory Show, Piers 92 & 94, New York, U.S.A. (2018); Infinite Blue, Brooklyn Museum, New York, U.S.A. (2018); The world is yours, as well as ours, White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, U.K. (2016); Su Xiaobai, Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan (2016, 2014, 2012); Su Xiaobai, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France (2014); The Dynasty of Colours, Langen Foundation, Neuss, Germany (2009); Transforming Pictures: A Contemporary (Re)presenting of Traditional Thoughts, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China (2009); Intangible Greats, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2007); and First Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China (2003).