Born in Abha, Saudi Arabia in 1953, Abdullah Hammas is a graduate of the Institute of Arts in Riyadh (1973). He works as an art teacher in Jeddah and was the Secretary General of the House of Arts, in which he has been greatly involved as a main founder. Recipient of more than a dozen art prizes and contests, Hammas stands among the first painters in Saudi Arabia to have pushed the limits of traditional and decorative painting. His work reflects an abstract quest to link colours and materials to his homeland. His art has gained national and international exposure through many solo and collective exhibitions in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. Through both his paintings and murals, Hammas’ work has assumed a critical role in shaping the new face of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia.
Born in 1973 in Khamis Mushait where he lives and works today, Gharem is both a practising conceptual artist and a Major in the Saudi Arabian Army. He studied at the Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, founded a few years earlier by Ahmed Mater, this institution soon became the nerve center of the new art scene that was represented in the 2004 exhibition Shattah, which captured the renewal of the Saudi Arabian scene. From now on, Gharem began using the street as his studio, working in response to his local context. In numerous performances and site-specific installations he drew attention to ecological, geographical, urban and societal issues, recording his actions on video or in photographs. At the same time he was working on a series of stamp paintings in which major events are juxtaposed with the excesses of a bureaucratic system that seems capable of expressing itself only by rubberstamping.
Acclaimed by international critics and now recognized in the Middle East, his work was presented at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and at the 8th Sharjah Biennial in 2007. His works have been seen in Venice, London, Berlin and Riyadh as part of exhibitions organized by Edge of Arabia.
Adel El Siwi
Egyptian painter Adel El-Siwi was born in Egypt in 1952. Between 1970-1976 he studied medicine at Cairo University before seriously considering a career as a painter. Like other Egyptian artists of the late 1970s, El Siwi, who had emigrated to Europe and North America, was compelled to return to the motherland, drawn by the power of Egypt's legacy of art aesthetic achievement. In 1980 he moved to Milan only to return to Cairo in 1990 where he currently lives and works.
After twelve years of self-training and traveling Europe and Egypt he had his first major show in 1985 at the Cairo Atelier. Since the 1980s he has had solo exhibitions in Egypt, Germany, Lebanon and Italy. He has participated in group exhibitions as far across the globe as Brazil and Mexico. El-Siwi's artistic career is bound up with his political beliefs, involvement in counter-culture and the belief in the vitality of community.
He was born in 1979, raised in Abha and studied medicine at King Khalid University (Saudi Arabia). His work is informed by his education and life as a medical doctor, as well as by his traditional upbringing and Saudi culture. His journey from a rural community in the mountainous south west of Arabia, to becoming a successful practicing doctor and contemporary artist, brings a compelling originality to a body of work that speaks boldly and with great compassion. Mater has created an iconic visual language within the boundaries of his faith, culture and scientific training. His work is layered with references to his life in the hospital, in the mosque and his experiences living within Arabic culture during an era of great political and cultural turmoil. Against this backdrop, he explores ideas directly connected to his encounters with ordinary people in real life situations, and because of this, the underlying narratives within his work speak to an authentic and universal human experience.
Ayman Yossri Daydban
Ayman Yossri has lived almost all his life in Jeddah and identifies with Saudi Arabia but is in fact a Palestinian with Jordanian nationality. This sense of national dislocation has an effect on his artistic production. Yossri’s studio in Jeddah could stand alone as a work of art. It is a monument to the marginal and eccentric artist. Yossri’s work is characterized by his desire to create situations rather than produce discrete commodities designed to be hung, bought and sold. His exploration of responsive performance and sculpture has led to pieces that interact with the viewer in a personal manner. Daydban engages in the production of experiences, rather than simply producing commodities, designed to be hung, bought and sold. Well respected by collectors and fellow artists in Saudi Arabia, he has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Jeddah since 1992. Daydban first came to international prominence following the Edge of Arabia exhibition at SOAS, Brunei Gallery in 2008 which has since toured to Venice during the 2009 Biennale. His work has featured in Christies Dubai auctions as well as in the group show Balla-Drama, at Paradise Row Gallery, alongside artists such as Mounir Fatmi and Shezad Dawood.
Bassem Al Sharqi
Bassem Al Sharqi, a renowned artist from Saudi Arabia, has an impressive list of exhibitions under his belt. His work reflects the style of Pop Art through a mix of mediums, such as collage, spray-paint, and silk screening. Bassem's art is often characterized by iconic images, such as the Mona Lisa or a classic VW Buggy. When asked about the significance of bringing such images to the Arab world, he replied "These images are universal; they no longer just belong to the Western world". Bassem argues that the subjects he depicts in his artwork are just as recognizable to Arabs as they are to the people of their countries of origin. His goal is to create novel iconic symbols that represent this new generation of Arabs. He asserts that the symbols usually associated with Saudi culture are now outdated and need to be replaced by images that the existing generation can relate to. His art is such an attempt. By representing the contemporary through a vintage medium, such as silk screening, Bassem is "combining the classic with the modern", in order to bridge the chasm of past and present.
Fahad Al-Hajailan graduated from fine art school in 1997 and is a pioneer of the modern school in Saudi Arabia. One of the very few Saudi artists dedicated to fine art as a profession. Through his study and experiences, he obtained an excellent degree in Painting and Photography. He teaches Art Education and become professional artist since 1999. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Saudi Arabian Society of Culture and Arts. He participated in exhibitions in the Kingdom and abroad - US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Kuwait, Libya and Bahrain. His paintings were printed as posters that are distributed in other countries.
1956 Born, Faisal Samra is one of Saudi Arabia’s best-known contemporary artists, and has exhibited widely in France, the USA and throughout the Middle East. Following his BA at L’Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris, in 1975 and a spell teaching at the College of Fine Art in Jordan in 2003, he now resides and works in Bahrain. His body of work is very diverse from paintings and sculptures to video performances and photography.
Halim Al-Karim was born in 1963 in Najaf, Iraq, he Lives in Denver, Colorado, USA and Dubai, UAE. He graduated 1988 from the fine art academy in Baghdad. He underwent a harrowing experience during the first Gulf War living for almost 3 years in a hole in the ground covered by a pile of rocks. These events have had a profound effect on his life and form the basis for his art practice. The relationship with reality that Halim is constantly questioning through is photograph has led him to work on his images using various techniques, distorting,scratching, coloring, scanning, and repeating them. For Halim these different stages are a metaphor for the layering of time expressing his belief that man lives simultaneously in different temporalities.
Hassan Al Sharq
Born in a small village near El Minya town of upper Egypt in 1949, Hassan Al Sharq was not highly educated, but always loved art. He started drawing and painting from a very young age, with primitive brushes and colors. All his thoughts were derived from religion, culture and his primitive environment. He participated in local and international art exhibits including Biennale in Czech Republic, and has exhibited in Germany, France, Switzerland, USA, Kuwait, Palistine, Lebanon, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands and in 2001 was chosen to represent Egypt in Colombia.
Hussein Al Mohasen
Hussein Al Mohasen was born in 1971 in Qatif, K.S.A (Saudi Arabia). He has been working as a professional artist since 1995, while his primary subject is abstract figurative, his work focuses on color and light and not particularly the figures, which mysteriously appear through the colors. Hussein is self-taught and is a member of Bahraini artist’s society. He has also been featured in many solo exhibitions galleries in the Arab World.
Jamshid Bayrami was born in 1961 in Tehran, Iran and was educated and trained in Tehran. As an artist, Bayrami uses photography as a medium and inevitably draws on his vast journalistic experience. His art focuses on social issues, including organized faith, and his forte lies in capturing populaces’ beliefs and rituals. Jamshid Bayrami is one the world’s most accomplished photojournalists, having extensively covered the Iran-Iraq War, and the politics of the Middle East for organisations such as Time, The Economist, Webestan and Agence France Presse. His photograph for the cover of an issue of the Economist has proven one of that publication’s most iconic images. Bayrami has received the UNESCO world prize for photography and the Grand Prize of the Fajr Festival.
Born in Al Baha, Saudi Arabia in 1959, and obtained a diploma in Aviation Engineering from the US in 1982, the Jeddah based artist Mohammed Al-Ghamdi had Six personal exhibitions in Jeddah, in 1996, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. Recently he participated in the Sharjah Biennale and has contributed to many international events in Rome, Switzerland, Istanbul and Czech Republic. Love of our planet is the central inspiration of all of his work.
Omar El Nagdi
Omar El-Nagdi a sculptor, director, musician and philosopher was born in Cairo in 1931 and studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts Helwan University, in 1953. He participated in many exhibitions and Biennales in Egypt, Europe and the former Soviet Union where he was awarded a one-year scholarship to study ceramics in 1959. Nagdi obtained a diploma from the Venice-based Ruskin Artistic Appreciation Institute, Italy. El-Nagdi made his mark in establishing the Egyptian identity in modern Egyptian art and has been awarded numerous awards including first prizes in Alexandria Biennale in 1966, 1968 and 1974. His works are exhibited at museums in Egypt, Italy, France, USA, England & Korea and has had numerous solo and collective exhibitions around the world.
Egyptian Artist, Rabab Nemr graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria in 1963 and later earned a doctoral in Art from the San Fernando Academy, University of Madrid, in 1977. She is a Member of the Syndicate of Fine Artists, the Cairo Atelier, and the Alexandria Atelier. She has been Department Director for the Plastic Arts at the Palaces of Cultural in Alexandria. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Egypt and abroad (Jordan, Bulgaria, Kuwait, India, Qatar& Rumania), along with yearly national exhibitions held in Cairo & Alexandria. Among the Collections in which Nemr's work appears are the Tito Museum in Yugoslavia, the Egyptian Cultural Center in Paris, the Museum of the Modern Art in Jordan and the International Conference Center in Cairo. She currently lives and works in Rome and Cairo.
Shadia & Raja Alem
The sisters Shadia and Raja Alem represent one of Saudi Arabia’s only collaborative double acts. Born in Makkah they divide their time between Jeddah and Paris. The inimitable and spiritual bond between the two has allowed them to work together to startling effect. Of the two, Shadia is the visual artist. She graduated with a BA in Art & English Literature from King AbdulAziz University and since 1985 has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Saudi Arabia as well as Egypt, Morocco, Germany, Korea and Paris. Raja is the writer. Her work includes novels, plays and numerous collaborations with artists through which she has become one of the best-known writers in the Arab world. Between them they have been involved in many projects that seek to encourage creativity amongst the youth and women of Saudi Arabia. In this and all their work they’re inspired by female predecessors Safia bin Zagir and Mona Mosaly who exhibited in Jeddah during the 1960s. Initially a series of paintings by Shadia Alem, their piece Jinniyat Lar reached its final form once Raja composed a string of short stories to accompany her sister’s paintings. She wrote forty stories in the space of half an hour. The final piece, with its monsters, magic and flights of imaginative fantasy is in the mold of the great medieval tradition of Arabic storytelling.
Ai Weiwei was born in 1957 in Beijing, China, where he lives and works. Ai is known for his social or performance-based interventions as well as object-based artworks. Citing Marcel Duchamp, he refers to himself as a 'readymade', merging his life and art in order to advocate both the freedoms and responsibilities of individuals. 'From a very young age I started to sense that an individual has to set an example in society', he has said. 'Your own acts and behaviour tell the world who you are and at the same time what kind of society you think it should be.' As material for his art, he draws upon the society and politics of contemporary China as well as cultural artefacts such as ancient Neolithic vases and traditional Chinese furniture, whose function and perceived value he challenges and subverts.
Feng Zhengjie was born in 1961 in Sichuan Province, China. Reminiscent of Warhol’s screen printed celebrities, Feng’s paintings reflect a vision of futuristic pop. His generic portraits of women are influenced by promotional imagery: their exotic colours, electrified auras, and wind machine hair exude the glamour aesthetic of commodified desire. Feng appropriates these staples of western kitsch as a readymade lingo for a duplicity of ideology. His work is often discussed as capitalist critique, his empty eyed models posing as frivolous and vacant signifiers. Neither western nor Chinese in appearance, Feng’s femmes fatales are a super-hybrid of commercial beauty, a science fiction product of globalisation. Painted in massive scale, Feng’s canvases replicate the billboards from which they were inspired. Without text, or accompanying products, Feng’s paintings streamline their hard-sell ethos. Removing all distraction, he exposes the essence of temptation, magnifying the sex appeal of fantasy lifestyle and its gulf of intangibility. Transposing these disposable sentiments through his highly refined painting technique, Feng glorifies the allure of advertising as epic, enduring, and numbingly empty.
Gao Zhen was born in 1956 in Jinan, China and Gao Qiang was born in 1962 in Jinan, China. The Gao Brothers are a pair of artist brothers based in Beijing, they have been collaborating on painting, installation, performance, sculpture, photography and writing since the 1980s. Their work has been exhibited all over the world, and held in private collections and museums, such China National Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Princeton University Art Museum.
Gigi Scaria was 1973 born in Kothanalloor, Kerala, India. He received a BFA in 1995 from The College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and an MFA in 1998 from the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. He is the recipient of numerous residencies including: The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art Residency, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Great Britain (2008); The National Art Studio, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (2007-08); among others. He exhibited in Berlin, Miami, Budapest, Seoul, Tokyo, Dubai, Bangkok and Zurich.
Huang Yan was born in 1966 in Jilin Province, is an eminent Chinese painter, sculptor, photographer and performance artists based in Beijing. He graduated from the Changchun Normal Academy in 1987 and is currently a Lecturer at Changchun University. Like many of the recent internationally recognized artists from China, Huang Yan conflates aspects of China’s rich traditional art with contemporary global art practices. His photos of models painted in traditional Chinese landscape combine one of the great Chinese art forms with body art. He operates his own gallery, Must Be Contemporary Art, in Beijing's 798 Factory/Art Center. He exhibited in London, Italy, The Netherlands and New York City.
Indian contemporary artist Jitish Kallat received his BFA in painting from the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai in 1996. Kallat's work incorporates various media from painting, large-scale sculptural, photography and video often referencing both Asian and European artistic traditions alongside consumerism and advertising commentary. He unites these various mediums through enduring themes such as the relationship between the individual and the masses. He references both his own personal experiences and that of the masses, characterized by contrasting themes of pain, hope and survival. Kallat has been part of numerous museum exhibitions at venues including the Tate Modern, London; ZKM Museum, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and has contributed to important group exhibitions throughout the world.
Born in 1924, Shiraga specialized in Japanese-style painting at school, switching later to oil painting. By the time he joined the "Gutai" group, a Kansai-based avant-garde art group, in 1955, he had begun to paint directly with his hands and feet, abandoning the brush all together. For this work too, Shiraga suspended himself from ropes and painted this work with his feet, using the canvas as a brush. Shiraga has commented that, through this method of painting, he wanted to display "traces of action carried out with speed." Indeed, the flow and build-up of pigment in this work create a dynamic effect resembling the violent movements of a massive beast, and the surface of the painting preserves the raw movements of the artist challenging the canvas. Shiraga passed away in 2008.
Kim Dong-Yoo was born in 1965 in Seoul, Korea, where he lives and works. He divided a canvas as pixel unit and drew one image in each pixel unit. Those small pixel images also become bases to make one big image. For instance Kim draws Marilyn Monroe’s face in each small pixel unit to show one big image like Mao. When viewers watch Kim’s painting for the first time they can see one large portrait image such as BASMOCA’s Mao however, upon closer look they can recognize there are hundreds and thousands of small Marilyn Monroe images in the canvas. While cutting edge contemporary art, using various new media leads to the mainstream of the contemporary art world Kim’s elaborated oil paintings give us a fresh look.
Subodh Gupta, born in 1964, is an artist based in New Delhi. He was born in Khagaul, Patna. He studied at the College of Art, Patna in 1983 - 1988, before moving to New Delhi where he currently lives and works. Trained as a painter, he went on to experiment with a variety of media. His work encompasses sculpture, installation, painting, photography, performance and video. Subodh Gupta is best known for incorporating everyday objects that are ubiquitous throughout India, such as the steel tiffin boxes used by millions to carry their lunch as well as thali pans, bicycles, and milk pails. From such ordinary items the artist produces sculptures that reflect on the economic transformation of his homeland and which relate to Gupta's own life and memories. As Gupta says: 'All these things were part of the way I grew up. They are used in the rituals and ceremonies that were part of my childhood. Indians either remember them from their youth, or they want to remember them.' Gupta transforms the icons of Indian everyday life into artworks that are readable globally. He is among a generation of young Indian artists whose commentary tells of a country on the move, fuelled by boiling economic growth and a more materialistic mindset. Gupta's strategy of appropriating everyday objects and turning them into artworks that dissolve their former meaning and function brings him close to artists like Duchamp; The Guardian called him 'the Damien Hirst of Delhi.' He succeeds in finding an art language that references India and at the same time can be appreciated for its aesthetic throughout world; as Gupta says: 'Art language is the same all over the world. Which allows me to be anywhere.' One of his recent major works, consisting of Indian cooking utensils, is 'Line of Control' (2008), a colossal mushroom cloud constructed entirely of pots and pans. The work was shown in the Tate Triennial at Tate Britain in 2009.
Born in Guilin (China) in 1974 , he live and works in Paris, France and Beijing, China . He treads the line separating two dramatically different worlds: the China of his ancestral past and the China of the present. “I feel impelled to do this: all artists have a need to distance themselves from the world they live in to facilitate conditions conductive to reflection – otherwise they die”. The motivations underlying all of Li’s work are best characterized by an ongoing dialogue between old and new, between ancestral and modern, between the realities of China, on the one hand, and those of the European continent on the other.
Wang Guangyi was born in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province in 1957. In 1984 Wang Guangyi graduated from the oil painting department of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts. The Chinese artist is known for being the leader of the New Art Movement circles that erupted out of China after 1989 and Political Pop Art, and for his Great Criticism series of paintings, using the images of propaganda from the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) and juxtaposing those revolutionary images with contemporary consumer brand names from western advertising. Stylistically merging the government enforced aesthetic of agitprop with the kitsch sensibility of American pop, Guangyi’s work adopts the cold-war language of the 60s to ironically examine the contemporary polemics of globalization, implicating his role as an active participant in economic and social policy. Guangyi currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
The Chinese painter, Yan Pei-Ming was born in 1960 in Shanghai. Since 1982 he has lived in Dijon, France, where he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, graduating in 1999. Yan Pei-Ming has become known for his "epic-sized" portraits, including works featuring Mao Zedong, Bruce Lee and his father. He works with big brushes, and his paintings are brought to life by the rapid brush strokes which structure the picture space. He has exhibited his work in the Venice Biennale in 2003 and at the Sevilla Biennale in 2006. The Honolulu Academy of Arts and the National Gallery of Australia are among the public collections holding works by Yan Pei-Ming. In February 12, 2009, his painting “The Funeral of Mona Lisa” went on display at The Louvre in the room next to the original Mona Lisa.
Born in 1963 Tangshan, Hebei Province, China and currently lives and works in Beijing. Yang Shaobin’s paintings are known for their refined composition, rich narrative and incisive commentary on the changing social landscape of China. The personal experience of growing up in a coal-mining town in rural China has informed his recent series of paintings and sculptures, entitled ‘X–Blind Spot’. Since 2004, he has been visiting the coalmining districts in Hebei Province, Shanxi Province and Inner Mongolia, and has documented the situation of coalmining communities. Coal, cheap and readily available, is the fuel of choice in China, and provides most of its energy. In observing the day-to-day experiences of China’s open-cut coalminers, Yang Shaobin examines the working conditions and social effects that are related to the production of coal in China, and considers the tensions between the individual and the collective in China’s changing economy. His solo exhibitions include: Long March Space, Beijing, China, 2008; and Alexander Ochs Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2007. He also exhibited as part of a group on Liverpool and the 48th Biennale of Venice, Italy, 1999.
Yue Minjun, born in Beijing in 1962, studied oil painting in the Hebei Normal University from 1985 to 1989 and is considered one of the most important artists of the Chinese avant-garde. He lives and works in Beijing and is part of the key movement of the post-1989 era in Chinese avant-garde art: Cynical Realism. Yue Minjun's works are instantly recognizable by the characteristic laughing figure, actually representing the artist himself, depicted in various guises in virtually all his works. Yue Minjun's trademark smile is many things at once. It is hilarious and infectious yet cynical and mocking. The roots of Yue Minjun's style can be traced back to the work of Geng Jianyi, which had first inspired Yue. Over the years, Yue Minjun's style has also rapidly developed. Yue often challenges social and cultural conventions by depicting objects and even political issues in a radical and abstract manner. He has also shifted his focus from the technical aspects to the "whole concept of creation". His self-portraits have been described by theorist Li Xianting as “a self-ironic response to the spiritual vacuum and folly of modern-day China.”
Born in Sichuan Province in China in 1974, Zeng Chuanxing majored in oil painting at the Central University for Nationalities from 1995 to 1998. Having grown up among ethnic groups, Zeng is familiar with their life and has developed strong feelings towards them. Minority girls are a major theme of Zeng's paintings he is especially fond of classical realism; a means through which he believes can thoroughly and delicately express his feelings. Many Western museums and major public art galleries and collectors have been collecting Zeng Chuanxing.
Born in 1964 in Wuhan, China, Beijing-based artist Zeng Fanzhi has exhibited internationally in shows including the First Triennial of Chinese Arts at Guangzhou Art Museum, China, at the Bonn Kunstmuseum in Germany, and at Pekin at Pierre Cardin in Paris. He is noted for his Mask series of portraits depicting Chinese people of the 1990s.
Zhan Wang is a noted contemporary Chinese sculptor. Born in 1962 in Beijing, China, Wang entered the Central Academy of the Arts as a sculpture major in 1983. His style concentrates primarily on abstract forms, which he calls floating stones. These are large, highly textured rock-like pieces coated in chrome. They are also called mountain or scholar's rocks. Wang refers to the series, which he began creating in 1995, as Artificial Jiashanshi. Wang has applied a similar technique to meteorites. In 2004, Zhan scaled Mount Everest and placed one of his own sculptures at the summit. He created a large outdoor sculpture for The DeYoung Museum in San Francisco that was unveiled in 2005.
Born 1965 in Anyang, Henan Province, China, Zhang Huan is a Chinese artist based in Shanghai and New York. He made his BA at the He Nan University in Kai Feng (1988) and his MA at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1993). He is primarily a performance artist but also makes photographs and sculpture. Zhang involves the body in his sculptures as well. He makes giant copper hands and feet, magnified versions of fragments of broken Buddhist figures that he found in Tibet. By using quasi-religious ritual, he seeks to discover the point at which the spiritual can manifest via the corporeal. He uses simple repetitive gestures, usually regarded as meaningless work-for-work’s-sake chores. Buddhism, with its temple music, sculptures and philosophy are a prevalent theme in Zhang Huan’s work. His sculpture "Long Ear Ash Head", for example, consists of a massive head made of incense ash and steel. It fuses the artist’s image with the lengthened earlobes representing happiness and good fortune in the Buddhist religion. He has exhibited at shows including the 2002 Whitney Biennial and Rituals at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
Zhang Xiaogang was born in the city of Kunming in China's Yunnan province in 1958, he is a contemporary Chinese symbolist and surrealist painter. He came of age during the 1960s and 70s political upheavals known as the Cultural Revolution, which exerted a certain influence on his painting. In 1982, he graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in the city of Chongqing in Sichuan province, then joined a young group of young avant-garde painters who came to prominence during the 1980s. He has made a Bloodline series of paintings, which are often monochromatic, stylized portraits of Chinese people, usually with large, dark-pupiled eyes, posed in a stiff manner deliberately reminiscent of family portraits from the 1950s and 60s. Western painters including Richter, Picasso and Dali are influences. Zhang said: "I read in a book once a few words by British experimental artist Eduardo Paolozzi, which were very influential for me: 'a person can very easily have the right idea, but choose the wrong means to express it. Or he can have the right means, but lack a clear idea.'" Zhang also cites his discovery of photos of his mother as a young, attractive woman as a key inspiration for the Bloodline series.
Zhou Tiehai is a contemporary Chinese painter whose art attempts to satirize much of modern Chinese art. Zhou does not paint his own works, though he earned an arts degree from the School of Fine Arts at Shanghai University in 1989. A typical process for him is to conceptualize a work, realize it on the computer, and then rely upon the help of assistants to physically create it.
Alex Katz, born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, is an American figurative artist associated with the Pop art movement. In particular, he is known for his paintings, sculptures, and prints. In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces. In 1965, he also embarked on a prolific career in printmaking. Katz would go on to produce many editions in lithography, etching, silkscreen, woodcut and linoleum cut. After 1964, Katz increasingly portrayed groups of figures. He would continue painting these complex groups into the 1970s, portraying the social world of painters, poets, critics, and other colleagues that surrounded him. He began designing sets and costumes for choreographer Paul Taylor in the early 1960s, and he has painted many images of dancers throughout the years. In 1974 The Whitney Museum of American Art showed Alex Katz Prints, followed by a traveling retrospective exhibition Alex Katz in 1986. In the 1980s, Katz took on a new subject in his work: fashion models in designer clothing.
Andrew Warhola in 1928 (passing away in 1987), known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and member of highly diverse social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons. Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame." In his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Andy Warhol Museum exists in memory of his life and artwork. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is $100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. The private transaction was reported in a 2009 article in The Economist, which described Warhol as the "bellwether of the art market." $100 million is a benchmark price that only Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-August Renoir, Gustav Klimt and Willem de Kooning have achieved.
Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945, in Donaueschingen. He is a German painter and sculptor. He studied with Joseph Beuys and Peter Dreher during the 1970s. His works incorporate materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac. The poems of Paul Celan have played a role in developing Kiefer's themes of German history and the horror of the Holocaust, as have the theological concepts of Kabbalah. In his entire body of work, Kiefer argues with the past and addresses taboo and controversial issues from recent history. Themes from Nazi rule are particularly reflected in his work; for instance, the painting "Margarethe" (oil and straw on canvas) was inspired by Paul Celan's well-known poem "Todesfuge" ("Death Fugue"). His works are characterized by a musty, nearly depressive, destructive style and are often done in large scale formats. In most of his works, the use of photography as an output surface is prevalent and earth and other raw materials of nature are often incorporated. It is also characteristic of his work to find signatures and/or names of people of historical importance, legendary figures or places particularly pregnant with history. All of these are encoded sigils through which Kiefer seeks to process the past; this has resulted in his work being linked with a style called "New Symbolism."
Berlin based artist Anselm Reyle was born in 1970 in Tübingen, Germany. In his large-scale paintings, sculptures, and painted reliefs, Reyle deals with the modernistic vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism, while exploring the union between the mundane and the highly seductive. Using materials like aluminum foil, neon colours and neon light, Reyle achieves intense colours, light, and surface effects that intensify and deconstruct common and familiar composition patterns of abstract painting styles. The artist's past solo exhibitions include shows at the Modern Institute in Glasgow (2007) and Galerie Almine Rech, Paris. He has also participated in numerous international group exhibitions including ones at Tate Modern, London and the Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy.
The London born English painter, Bridget Riley is one of the foremost proponents of Op Art movement (Optical art) in the 1960s. A graduate from the Royal College of Art in 1955, Riley's mature style, developed during the 1960s, was influenced by a number of sources. Visually, her work relates to many concerns of the 60s era: a perceived need for audience participation, challenges to the notion of the mind-body duality which led some people to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs; concerns with a tension between a scientific future which might be very beneficial or might lead to a nuclear war; and fears about the loss of genuine individual experience in a Brave New World. In 1965, Riley exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City show, “The Responsive Eye”, the exhibition which first drew worldwide attention to her work and the Op Art movement. After a trip to Egypt in the early 1980s, where she was inspired by colourful hieroglyphic decoration, Riley began to explore colour and contrast. In 1968 Riley represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale. She was the first British contemporary painter, and the first woman, to be awarded the prestigious International Prize for painting.
Daniel Buren was born in 1938 in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, he is a French conceptual artist. In 1986 he created a 3,000 m² sculpture in the great courtyard of the Palais Royal, in Paris: "Les Deux Plateaux", more commonly referred to as the "Colonnes de Buren" ("Buren's Columns"). This provoked an intense debate over the integration of contemporary art and historic buildings. Sometimes classified as an abstract minimalist he is known best for using regular, contrasting maxi stripes to integrate the visual surface and architectural space, notably historical, landmark architecture. In the late 1960s Buren hit on the mark that connected him with ideas of space and presentation arising through deconstructionist philosophies background in the May 1968 student demonstrations in France. Working in situ (on site), he strives to contextualize his artistic practice using the. He began producing unsolicited public art works using striped awning canvas common in France. Denoting the trademark stripes as a visual instrument or ‘seeing tool’ he invites us to take up his critical standpoint challenging traditional ideas about art. As a conceptual artist, he was regarded as visually and spatially audacious, objecting to traditional ways of presenting art through the museum/gallery system while at the same time growing in hot demand to show via the system. By the 70s and 80s he was exhibiting in Europe, America and Japan. In 1986 when François Mitterrand was President, he attained leading artist status after a contentious work in the Palais Royal court, Paris. That same year, he represented France at the Venice Biennale and won the Golden Lion Award. Often referred to as ‘the stripe guy’ Buren also expresses his theme in paint, laser cut fabric, light boxes, transparent fabrics and ceramic cup sets. His stripes are displayed in private homes, public places and museums worldwide. In 2007 Buren was awarded the Praemium Imperiale.
El Anatsui is a Ghanaian sculptor active for much of his career in Nigeria and a graduate of College of Art, University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi, in central Ghana. Anatsui's preferred media are clay and wood, which he uses to create objects based on traditional Ghanaian beliefs and other subjects that he has turned to installation art. Anatsui also incorporates uli and nsibidi into his works alongside Ghanaian motifs. El Anatsui has exhibited his work around the world, including at Art Dubai (2010); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2008-09); National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C. (2008); Venice Biennale (2007); Hayward Gallery (2005); Liverpool Biennial (2002); the National Museum of African Art (2001); the Centro de Cultura Contemporania Barcelona (2001); the 8th Osaka Sculpture Triennale (1995); and the Venice Biennale (1990).
Born in 1938 in what was then East Germany, before moving to what was then the country of West Germany. German Painter Georg Baselitz's style is interpreted as Neo-Expressionist. His career was kick-started in the 1960s after police action against one of his paintings, the “Die große Nacht im Eimer” (1963), because of its provocative, offending sexual nature. Baselitz is one of the world's best-selling living artists. He is a professor at the renowned Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. His style usually focuses on deformation, the power of subject and the vibrancy of the colors. He became famous for his upside-down images and his ability to shock his audience. He is seen as a revolutionary painter as he draws the viewer’s attention to his works by making them think and sparking their interest. Throughout his career, Baselitz has varied his style, ranging from layering substances to his style, since the 1990s, which focuses more on lucidity and smooth changes. Baselitz currently lives and works near Munich and in Imperia, Italy.
German visual artist, Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1932. He grew up in the countryside, in Reichenau (1935) and Waltersdorf (1942) in Saxony's Oberlausitz. In the early 1960s Richter was exposed to both American and British Pop art, which was just becoming known in Europe, and to the Fluxus movement. Richter consistently regarded himself simply as a painter. He began to paint enlarged copies of black-and-white photographs using only a range of greys. The evident reliance on a ready-made source gave Richter's paintings an apparent objectivity that he felt was lacking in abstract art of the period. The indistinctness of the images that emerged in the course of their transformation into thick layers of oil paint helped free them of traditional associations and meaning. Richter concentrated exclusively on the process of applying paint to the surface. As early as 1966 he had made paintings based on colour charts. Although these paintings, like those based on photographs, were still dependent on an existing artefact, all that was left in them was the naked physical presence of colour as the essential material of all painting. All vestiges of subject-matter seem to have been abandoned by Richter in the paintings that he began to produce in 1976. Even these supposedly wholly invented paintings retained a second-hand look, as if the brushstrokes had been copied from photographic enlargements. The extreme variety of Richter's work left him open to criticism, but his rejection of an artificially maintained consistency of style was a conscious conceptual act that allowed him to investigate freely the basic principles of painting.
Jaume Plensa was born in 1955 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, he is an internationally renowned contemporary artist and sculptor. Plensa studied art in Barcelona, in the "Llotja" School and in the Escola Superior de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi. One of Jaume Plensa's most notable works of art is the “Crown Fountain” at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois in the United States. It opened in July 2004.The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers. The towers are 15.2m tall, and they use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to display digital videos on the inward faces. On 16 June 2008 Jaume's sculpture of a listening glass entitled “Breathing” was dedicated by the incumbent Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, as a memorial to journalists killed whilst undertaking their work. The sculpture in steel and glass sits atop a new wing of Broadcasting House in London. At 22:00 GMT each evening a beam of light will be projected from the sculpture extending 1 km into the sky for 30 minutes to coincide with the BBC News at Ten. “El alma del Ebro” sculpture was created for the International Exposition in Zaragoza, the theme of which was "Water and Sustainable Development". It is eleven meters high, the sculpted letters representing cells of the human body which is over 60% water. Its white letters and hollow structure invite the view to look inside and reflect on the relationship between human beings and water.
Luciano Castelli was born in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1951. He achieved notoriety between 1970 and 1983 as a member of a school of expressive and gestural painting known as the “Jungen Wilden” that had been formed by a group of painters in Berlin. Thanks to the influence of Franz Gertsch, Castelli’s early artistic career began to build with the exhibition of some sculptures at Documenta V in Kassel. Over the course of his career, his works have become increasingly complex and balanced. On one hand, they are characterized by an elegant line, common to Matisse and other French artists; on the other, they are rendered recognizable by an expressionism of gesture and color that refer to the influences of Hartung and de Steal, which however he mitigates, thus creating works of great originality and artistic quality. Among the great number of exhibitions in which he has participated; Geneva’s Center of Contemporary Art, the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; he has had group shows at the 39th Venice Biennial of Art, the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna in Modena, at Basel’s Kunsthalle, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at the San Paolo Biennale. Many of his works figure in the collections of museums and cultural institutions around the world.
Thomas Struth was born in 1954 in Geldern in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, near Düsseldorf. He trained under Gerhard Richter and Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1973 to 1980. Richters early blurred photo paintings as well as the Bechers direct, methodically composed black-and-white photographs of Germanys industrial landscape left a lasting impression on the young artist. Initially interested in painting, Struth turned his attention to photography in 1976. In the mid-1980s, Struth began a series of color and black-and-white portraits of individuals and family groups, using the same large-format camera he employed for his cityscapes. As a result of his portrait work, Struth developed an interest in Renaissance painting, which precipitated his best-known series, the Museum Photographs.n the past decade, Struth has expanded his photographic vocabulary to include natural landscapes (jungles, deserts, forests), intimate nature studies, celebrated architectural monuments (Notre Dame, Milans cathedral), and Chinese cityscapes.
Tracey Emin was born in 1963, a British artist and part of the group known as Britartists or YBAs (Young British Artists). In 1997, her work “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995”, a tent appliquéd with names, was shown at Charles Saatchi's Sensation exhibition held at the Royal Academy in London. In 1999, she was a Turner Prize nominee and exhibited “My Bed”, an installation, consisting of her own unmade dirty bed. In March 2007, Emin was chosen to join the Royal Academy of Arts in London as a Royal Academician. She represented Britain at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Her first major retrospective, “20 Years” was held in Edinburgh 2008, and toured Europe until 2009. Tracey Emin is a panelist and speaker, she has lectured internationally at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2010), the Royal Academy of Arts (2008) and the Tate Britain in London (2005) about the links between creativity and autobiography, and the role of subjectivity and personal histories in constructing art. Emin's art takes many different forms of expression including needlework and sculpture, drawing, video and installation, neon, fabric, photography and painting.
She was born in London 1965. She attended Ecole Nationale Superieure des Art Decoratifs in Paris, Midlesex University (BA) and Central Saint Martin (MA).
Her work includes the Jerwood Photographic Prize-winning 2 Willow Road , in which Bailey offered an interpretation of the lives and relationship of modernist architect, Ernö Goldfinger, and his wife, Ursula Blackwell, using nothing more than a selection of books from their library. Her later body of work, Postscript , is a visually arresting meditation on the passionate yet volatile wartime affair between Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, the Lee Miller Archive granting Bailey access to their correspondence from that period - a simple and spare resource, usually regarded as the rather arid fiefdom of the professional biographer rather than the raw materials for a fine artist. Her last series, Hours of Devotion, is the result of several months delving into the physical residue of Coutts Bank 300 years of continuous activity in the financial market.