Zhao Gang delves into the fluidity of individual identities, the clash of cultures, and the intricate interplay of fragmented historical events. His works are deeply rooted in a rich and nuanced cultural heritage, drawing inspiration from both classical and contemporary, Western and Chinese influences. Within his work, patterns and concepts gracefully unfurl, expertly deconstructing visual narratives. At the age of 18, Zhao Gang became the youngest member to join the avant-garde artist group known as the ‘Star Group’, heralding the onset of the modern art movement in China. Driven by a pursuit of artistic and political freedom, they laid the foundational stones of contemporary Chinese art. Zhao Gang’s artistic style is characterized by audacious and almost exaggerated narrative techniques and brushwork. These elements serve not only as a perpetual reaffirmation of his own existence but also as a defiant stance against the prevailing trend of artistic refinement. His works celebrate the unfettered freedom and authenticity inherent in painting. His experience of studying abroad and living overseas since 1983 has given his works a diverse style with distinctive international characteristics. Upon returning to Beijing in around 2006, Zhao Gang redirected his focus to the intricate interplay between his unique cross-cultural experiences and the annals of Chinese history. Born in this land, yet traversing the path of a new immigrant, he grapples with the sentiment of estrangement that threads through his art.
Born in Beijing in 1961, Zhao Gang currently works and lives in New York and Beijing. He attended the Maastricht Institute of Arts (formerly Stadsacademie voor Toegepaste Kunsten) in The Netherlands (1983), and Vassar College, New York (1984-1987). He obtained a Master of Arts degree from Bard College, New York in 1999. Zhao Gang has held solo exhibitions at various institutions, including the Long Museum (Chongqing Branch), Chongqing, China (2022); Long Museum (West Bund Branch), Shanghai, China (2021); Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei (2020); Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL, USA (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile (2016); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2015); Suzhou Museum, Suzhou, China (2015); Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2011); Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China (2008); and He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China (2006), among others. His works have also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA (2017); Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China (2015); OCAT Contemporary Art Terminal (Xi'an Branch), Xi'an, China (2014); Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); Performa Biennial, New York, NY, USA (2007); and Yokohama Triennale, Japan (2005).