13 August 2019 (Tuesday) – 13 October 2019 (Sunday)
10:00am – 7:00pm
Pan De Hai (1956–) was born in the city of Siping in Jilin province. In 1982 he graduated from the School of Fine Arts at Northeast Normal University. His seminal series include “Opened Corn”, “The Red Era”, “The Labourer”, “Chubby”, and more recently, “Childhood” and “Life Opera”. He also the author of an essay entitled Conversation Between Imagination and Action.
A foremost member of the Southwestern Art Research Group, Pan has been called one of the Three Musketeers of Southwest China, together with artists Zhang Xiao Gang and Mao Xu Hui. In 1985, the three of them, together with other artists, held an exhibition entitled “New Figurative Image”, in Shanghai and Nanjing. The following year, the musketeers founded the Southwestern Art Research Group. In 1987, Pan began experimenting with motifs on paper, an exercise that would lead to the creation of his signature “Corn” series. In 1989, the series was exhibited at a National Art Museum of China exhibition entitled “China/Avant-Garde”.
As Pan’s aesthetic matured, the idea of corn became an even deeper artistic symbol and medium of thought. In the late 1990s, he transformed the concept to create the spinoff character Chubby, first seen in Receding Hairline. Round and slow, yet full of desires, Chubby’s existence points to problems and confusion at a time when political awareness in China was on a downswing. By contrast with the depressing aspect of “Corn”, the “Chubby” series, with its varied metaphors and satirical content, left greater room for interpretation. Initially grey, “Chubby” later becomes bright, decorative and richly themed, with varied expressions according to the context. In recent years, the Chubby character also makes an appearance in the “Childhood” and “Life Opera” series, cleverly interposed within slices of Chinese life from the 1960s and ’70s, or on the stage of revolutionary operas in which politics trump art and culture. As Pan has enriched his artistic language, the messages in his works have become increasingly clear.