September 17, 2015 - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) - David Diao
September 17, 2015

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)

David Diao, Hiding, 2000. Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 183 x 122 cm. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.
David Diao
September 19–November 15, 2015

Symposium: "Which Way Up?": September 19, 2–4pm, with David Diao, Pi Li, Christian Bjone, and Zhao Gang

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District
No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
100015 Beijing
China
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–7pm

T +86 10 5780 0200

ucca.org.cn
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David Diao
September 19–November 15, 2015

Symposium: "Which Way Up?": September 19, 2–4pm, with David Diao, Pi Li, Christian Bjone, and Zhao Gang

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District
No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
100015 Beijing
China
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–7pm

T +86 10 5780 0200

ucca.org.cn
Facebook

From September 19 to November 15, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art presents David Diao, the most complete collection of the artist's work to date. Born in Chengdu in 1943, David Diao has produced, over the past five decades, a body of work that speaks to the vagaries of formal aesthetics, art-historical consensus, personal circumstance, and geopolitical succession. This exhibition spans all phases of Diao’s career, from his early abstractions of the 1970s to a suite of paintings about his childhood refugee years in Hong Kong, completed just last year.

When he began working as an artist in the New York of the late 1960s, Diao engaged with the complex position of painting in the aftermath of the Abstract Expressionists and the formalist critical debates that followed them. Surprisingly, in the early 1980s he turned from process-based abstraction to a more conceptual way of working that incorporated text, iconography, and narrative subject matter as a means of addressing themes including the legacies of utopian political and artistic movements; the racially inflected tensions of identity politics at the American fin-de-siècle; an ongoing interest in particular figures and ideas—among them notably Barnett Newman and Philip Johnson—from his native New York scene; and the historical poignancy of his own family story in light of China’s long twentieth century, as seen through the prism of his demolished childhood home. Diao’s uniquely recombinant aesthetic sensibility—manifest in his palette and surfaces as in his historical and biographical interests—suggests a way forward for a kind of painting that is able to raise questions even as it tells stories, and to upset theoretical doctrine even as it gives visual pleasure. This exhibition seeks to present the chronological story of Diao’s artistic evolution, and to position his vast output as a field of visual and conceptual adjacencies from which multivalent, unexpected connections can emerge.

David Diao is curated by Philip Tinari with Felicia Chen, and designed by Christian Bjone. The exhibition catalogue is published with support from Frank F. Yang Art and Education Foundation, Eslite Gallery, and Artron Art (Group) Co., Ltd. Airline sponsorship comes from Air China.

Also on the occasion of the opening, UCCA invites David Diao, Pi Li, Christian Bjone and Zhao Gang to discuss the complex and intertwined histories of modernism, utopianism, masculinity, ethnic identity, autobiography, and critique that run through Diao’s work.

Editorial contacts:
Luna Zhang, UCCA: luna.zhang [​at​] ucca.org.cn
Ling Chen, UCCA: ling.chen [​at​] ucca.org.cn
Dylan Shuai, Sutton PR Asia: dylan [​at​] suttonprasia.com

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