Lot 4
  • 4

Zhao Gang

400,000 - 600,000 RMB
bidding is closed


  • Zhao Gang
  • Untitled
  • oil on canvas
signed in Chinese, dated 1978-1979, framed


Private Collection, China


Gao Minglu, Apartment Art in China 1970s-1990s The Ecology of Post-Cultural Revolution Frontier Art, 2008, p.112-113

Catalogue Note

In this painting, the viewer's vision follows a wide, level road that leads directly towards the site at which Beijing's old West Gate once stood. In the distance there are a number of high-rise buildings almost melting into the romantic aura of the setting sun. In an era when skyscrapers had yet to exist in the everyday life of the Chinese people, these 'aspirational' buildings, awkwardly and absurdly took over the space previously occupied by the ancient gate.

Zhao Gang's Untitled was created between 1978 and 1979; its motif came from the artist's first-hand experience with the construction work that drastically altered the city's 2nd Ring Road during the early days of China's economic reform. The volatile changes to ordinary, everyday views of the city provoked peculiar, drastic and overwhelming psychological changes within the artist. Through this somewhat surreal emotional experience, the artist conjured mirage-like images, such as the present lot, filled with a drifting air of Romanticism and a distinct sense of void, whilst offering penetrating insights into the inner nature of the reformation. The result is a veiled yet veritable urban fable.

The youngest member of The Stars (Xing Xing) Group, Zhao created this piece at the age of 18. Compared to other group members who took a stronger stance in attempting to break free from creative restrictions, Zhao's artistic ideas are even more progressive and truly ahead of his time. In Untitled, Zhao displays a sensitivity that is often in young people's nature, whilst projecting a subconscious premonition regarding the notion of change. Exhibited a number of times at the Apartment Exhibitions held at fellow Star Group member Zhang Wei's home, this is a representative work of Zhao's from his Stars Group period.