Gao Zhen

1956 · China

Artist biography

Gao Zhen is an established contemporary visual artist, who was born and brought up in China. Gao Zhen was born in 1956. Some of the artist's contemporarie that are from the same generation and country include Zhang Xiaogang, Liang Juhui and Wang Keping.

Gao Zhen's Gallery representation

Gao Zhen's work is available for viewing at Arsenal Contemporary | New York in the United States.

Historical Context of China

China has always been a rather enigmatic figure in the eyes of the West, distinctive in its cultural and political structures and quite restricted in nature, but nonetheless representative of an incredibly refined and artistically lush culture. China remains a pioneer in technology and technical innovation, in the respective domains of the arts and sciences, and an astonishing number of innovations have been forged by Chinese artisans. This includes true porcelain, with kaolin as the key ingredient, which was developed in the early 1300s. It is not until 1722 that the Meissen factory in Germany discovered the fundamental elements of the recipe, thus enabling Europe to produce porcelain of the same technical qualities. The art and culture of the Maoist era, which would live on for decades from the mid-century period, were used as a mean for a number of propagandist ideals, serving the revolutionary communism of Mao Zedong.

Further Biographical Context for Gao Zhen

Born in 1956, Gao Zhen was primarily influenced by the distinctive cultural milieu of 1970s. The art sphere of the 1970s was epitomized by a longing to evolve and strengthen itself, as a response to the many tensions of the previous decade. One of the most important movement of the 1970s was Conceptualism, which emerged as an offshoot of Minimalism, while the experimental, creative journey of Process art materialized by combining essential aspects of Conceptualism with further considerations on art itself. The initial ideas of environmentalism sprung from Land Art, which took art into earth itself, carving the land and bringing art to the outdoors. For the first time since the decline of Abstract Expressionism, Expressive figure painting slowly resurfaced and regained its prominence, especially in Germany through the works of world renowned figures Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. The city of New York remained as the most prominent artistic hub of the decade, with global artists wandering through the downtown scene, frequenting bars and art galleries, strengthening the idea of New York City as a cosmopolitan and sophisticated cultural capital. Towards the end of the 1970s, street art, developing from graffiti, was starting to truly fascinate the fine art community. Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat helped legitimize spray painting and tagging, demonstrating that their artworks could exist at the same time in art galleries and in urban settings. Following, the international extent of street art would become extremely influential, representing an astonishing form of artistic expression.

Gao Zhen