Portrait of Shao Fan, Photography Wang Yu, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Urs Meile

First Dutch solo exhibition of the work of Chinese artist Shao Fan

25 November 2019

Between Truth and Illusion on display from February 15, 2020 in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

With Shao Fan: Between Truth and Illusion, the Het Noordbrabants Museum is once again introducing an internationally rising star to the Netherlands. This is the first solo exhibition in a Dutch museum of work by this contemporary artist. It is a unique retrospective of Shao Fan’s work from 2009 to the present, in which both the innovation and tradition of Chinese culture can be seen. The exhibition Shao Fan: Between Truth and Illusion is on display from February 15 until June 14, 2020 in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Dutch Cultural City of the South.

Shao Fan (Beijing, 1964) holds a special place in contemporary Chinese painting. He is a master of the classical ink drawing techniques. In his work, Shao Fan combines painting, drawing and design with an extensive knowledge of Chinese culture. For over ten years, his work has been exhibited worldwide. His first solo exhibition in the Netherlands gives a unique overview of his work, featuring the monumental portraits of hares and rabbits.

Long live the hare and the rabbit

The protagonists of his monumental works are animals. Shao Fan particularly sees the rabbit and the hare as archetypes and hybrid creatures between man and animal. In doing so, he is in keeping with tradition: the rabbit and the hare are recurring subjects in traditional Chinese arts and crafts, although in China people do not distinguish these two animal species. In the Taoist tradition, the hare and the rabbit are associated with immortality and a long life.

Innovative and traditional

Shao Fan is also one of the first Chinese artists to explore the boundaries between visual art and design. Although the design of his Ming-style chairs is innovative, they are made using traditional methods. The chairs can be considered to be sculptures that recall functional furniture.

Biography of Shao Fan

Shao Fan was born in 1964 into a renowned family of artists in Beijing. Both his parents taught oil painting in Soviet style. His father owned a collection of traditional painting, calligraphy, and furniture, which he was able to retain during the Cultural Revolution owing to his high status in the Communist party.

Since 1988 Shao Fan's work has been part of the permanent collection of various museums worldwide, including the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Victoria, Albert Museum in London and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. In 2018, two works by Shao Fan were on display in Het Noordbrabants Museum during the successful exhibition A Chinese Journey: The Sigg Collection.

Series of international debuts

Earlier, the Iranian-American Ali Banisadr (2019), the Indian Manish Nai (2018), the Japanese Chiharu Shiota (2017), and the Northern Irish Claire Morgan (2016) made their Dutch debut in Het Noordbrabants Museum.

Thanks to

The solo exhibition Shao Fan: Between Truth and Illusion is made possible thanks to the support of the Renschdael Art Foundation and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

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