A central figure in contemporary art in China, Jia creates dynamic compositions that both emerge from and challenge art historical assumptions in the context of a rapidly changing world. In his epic tableaux, which move between genre painting, portraiture, fantasy, and abstraction, he reflects on the dramatic modernization of society while probing the vulnerabilities of the existential human condition. New meaning emerges out of this interweaving of disparate narratives.
The exhibition includes twenty-nine paintings from the past ten years, grouped into four sections to trace the evolution of Jia’s oeuvre. In the four-panel Sonatine (2019), condensed polyhedrons move through the air, filled with autonomous scenes related to Jia’s earlier paintings. Like musical notes, colors are emancipated from their illusionistic and representational functions while multidimensional shapes tessellate into a cohesive whole—as the title suggests “small sonatas” visually unfolding. Jostling against each other, the abstract planes and anonymous figures seem to suggest a new internal realm where traditional perspective is fragmented and replaced with a timeless panoramic view: a future landscape of grafted, inchoate memories.