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This discussion is in response to:
Contemporary Chinese Artists Reading Western Art

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Xiaogang’s words about discovering Magritte’s paintings in person in 1992 and being shocked by his reductive painting techniques reminds me of Magritte’s description of his own work in his 1938 lecture “La Ligne de vie”. Magritte describes his detached way of representing things as “characteristic of a universal style in which the manias and minor preferences of the individual no longer play any part. As Xiaogang realized, Magritte aimed to surpass traditional art or, in Magritte’s words, “the traditionally picturesque.”

Xiaogang was also struck by the sense of dislocation in Magritte’s work, which he says is achieved by placing objects in a set up (artificial) space. Magritte also very clearly indicates the importance of this technique in this same 1938 speech: “In my pictures I show objects in situations in which we never encounter them. This fulfills a real, but perhaps unconscious desire felt by most men. Even a banal painted tries, within the limits imposed upon him, to disrupt the order in which he habitually sees objects.”

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Xiaogang’s words about discovering Magritte’s paintings in person in 1992 and being shocked by his reductive painting techniques reminds me of Magritte’s description of his own work in his 1938 lecture “La Ligne de vie”. Magritte describes his...

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Yuchieh li

Posted on 22 Dec

I am also struck by the fact that Zhang Xiaogang grasped the very core of Magritte’s ideas only by seeing and reading the works and some statements of Magritte in Chinese translations. And Zhang's oeuvre since the mid ‘90s seems to resonate with the aim of surpassing the "traditionally picturesque." Indeed, maybe they would be soul mates if Magritte was still alive. And thank you for bringing in the voice of Magritte in this "dialogue"!

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I am also struck by the fact that Zhang Xiaogang grasped the very core of Magritte’s ideas only by seeing and reading the works and some statements of Magritte in Chinese translations. And Zhang's oeuvre since the mid ‘90s seems to resonate with...

Show more »