China's abstract pioneer Xu Dongdong returns to public life

By Liu Xiangrui ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-08-04 08:00:46

China's abstract pioneer Xu Dongdong returns to public life

Artist Xu Dongdong. Photos Provided to China Daily

The Chinese artist Xu Dongdong is back with a series of new artworks.

While he was famous as a young star in China's art circle, Xu had disappeared from public life at the peak of his career, and lived a hermit-like existence for more than 10 years before his recent reemergence. But he doesn't regret it, saying the time away from media spotlight allowed him to focus more on art.

"It also helped to liberate me from limitations of the past environment and introspect about my art style and life," the 56-year-old artist says, while sipping tea at the lobby of a Beijing hotel. His sonorous voice and occasional laughter reveal his cheerful personality.

Longing to artistically reborn, Xu moved to the outskirts of Beijing and lived in seclusion since 2003, spending most of his time painting, reading and tending to his garden.

As a pioneer of abstract painting in the country, Xu has worked since the 1980s, to make Chinese paintings travel from traditional to modern forms and from regional to international appeal.

"I wanted to create something of our own times, instead of confining myself in the gardens built by our ancestors," Xu says.

He hopes to create abstract paintings featuring Chinese perceptions and reflecting society here, other than just imitating Western abstract art. Xu has also looked for abstract concepts in Chinese philosophy for inspiration and he has strived to transform them into the language of his own paintings.

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