shao fan: incurable classicist contrasts gallery shanghai no 181 middle jiangxi road, shanghai october 10 – november 11, 2010

‘an incurable classicist’ by shao fan at contrast gallery in shanghai, china all images courtesy contrast gallery ‘rabbit looking into the mirror’ oil on canvas 230 x 170 cm

exhibiting at contrasts gallery shanghai is ‘an incurable classicist’, a collection of 21 oil paintings by renowned chinese artist shao fan. exploring the effects of philosophical and cultural changes taking place in current day china, his first major solo show explores the intersection between the traditional and contemporary in a style that reinterprets the old ‘literati’ aesthetics to fit the modern context.

largely influenced by ancestral painting styles, shao focuses on showing the form over details. the paintings and portraits closely follow the literati aesthetic by utilizing bare, stark and sober palates. techniques are borrowed from a number of traditional styles including ‘wen ren’, a way of painting what you see rather than reality, and ‘gong-bi’, a method used by the song dynasty court painters where they used oil paint to reinstate their concern about the loss of chinese culture and aesthetics. 

‘an incurable classicist’  recontextualizes ancient chinese philosophy by creating balance and unity between man and nature. shao reflects on 5000 years of history, contemporary and traditional thought, and creates a new language, re-evaluating chinese philosophy and principles.

shao fan: an incurable classicist ‘white hare’, 2010 oil on canvas 146 x 115 cm

shao fan: an incurable classicist ‘abatis’, 2009 oil on canvas 200 x 160 cm

shao fan: an incurable classicist ‘cradle’, 1989 oil on canvas 146 x 115 cm