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Tang Zhigang(ĺĺżĺ˛Ą). The power of the fairytale is in the fulfillment of wishes and the release from restraints. Tang Zhigang’s childhood lacked in fairytales, so the indistinct presence of restless desires and the exposure of anxiety became instinctual needs in his art. When he ponders the significance and value of existence, this need is reflected even more. Any artist loyal to his own spirit and childhood recollections is “autobiographical” in a sense, so Tang Zhigang’s unique artistic style is in the end full of autobiographical flavor.
Tang Zhigang’s early works from the ‘80’s reveal discontent and mischievous intentions towards the rules of the game and show a pursuit of a direct and sincere expression of his personal emotions. In the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, on the foundation of a richer painting language, there emerged a “Tang style”, where an expressive linguistic style appears within a realist image composition. This style has been described as “serious identity and humorous art”. In a sense, 1998 was the time of Tang Zhigang’s first important transformation, as the frankness and exposure of Adult Meeting was replaced by the humor and innuendo of Children’s Meeting. In the nearly ten years that he has continued with the symbol of children, Tang has been continuously writing a “fairytale” of his own. This fairytale could be healing, comforting and dependable, or it could be unnerving, confidence-shattering and disorienting.
This exhibition is a full retrospective on Tang Zhigang’s creative achievements over the past thirty years, but more importantly, through the clues provided by these images we can experience a “growth” story, a story of never growing up. What it brings us in the end may be the essence of growth itself, or it may have nothing to do with growth at all. (Source: Hyunday Gallery)
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