Biography of Xiaobai Su
Su Xiaobai's works are an intense study of materiality and texture. Mixing his signature lacquer with oils, clay, and pigment, and painting on linen, bricks, and wood instead of canvas, Xiaobai achieves complex markings, fissures, and cracks on the surface of his works. His printmaking echoes his painting, often reproducing the densely layered planes of his lacquered works in the delicate medium of paper and ink.
Any attempt to discover motifs in Su Xiaobai's works are thwarted, the artist having eradicated subject matter from his practice by the 1990s. His pieces treat the pictorial surface precisely as such—a two-dimensional plane. One doesn't see through it or into it, one looks at it, the gaze ends there. The work becomes an object in its own right, confronting the viewer with its presence. It does not dwell in the fanciful realms of imagination, but in the real tangible world, engaging with "the idea of being itself".
Born in Wuhan in 1949 and trained at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he was a student of Gerhard Richter and Markus Lüpertz, Xiaobai's practice is a fascinating fusion of Eastern and Western influences, the artist currently living and working between Shanghai and Düsseldorf. Su Xiaobai has had numerous important solo exhibitions both in China and in Germany, notably at the Shanghai Art Museum in 2007 and State Second Television ZDF, Mainz, Germany and the Langen Foundation, Neuss, Germany in 2009/2010. Su is also featured in the renowned collections of the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and the Ostasien Museum, Cologne.