The Enigmatic Art of Gao Xingjian

(Image c/o Among the Jumbled Heap)

It’s such a shame to discover the art of Gao Xingjian this late.

He has been in the art scene since the 1980s and was eventually banished from his homeland, China. Now a French citizen, his works found themselves a new home in the admiration of (mostly) the Western world.

Even though he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000 with Soul Mountain (an “experimental” novel), Gao exemplifies his gift and love for art with more than just words: aside from being a novelist, he is also a literary translator, playwright, screenwriter, director, and a painter – which will the focus of this post.

Artsy describes Gao’s art as:

Neither figurative nor abstract, his paintings play with light and shadow and point toward narratives, often including the silhouette of a figure travelling into the distance.

In addition, Xingjian delineates his ink wash paintings as “more than self-expression, self-purification.”

Completely intoxicated by Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love OST, I searched from Yumeji’s theme on Youtube and found this video which uses one of Gao’s paintings:

I took great pleasure in finding the strings blending with the somber atmosphere of Gao’s art.

In a 2008 NYT article, it is revealed that Gao creates these artworks while accompanied by music. He paints “while listening to classical music, mostly Vivaldi, Kodaly and Bach.”

Lush with subtle tones of isolation and dreary sceneries, here are some more of Gao’s black-and-white art:

Fil de pensée, 2011

La Memoire Lointaine, 2009

Nuit blanche, 2015

Moon and Wind (Lune et Vent) 風月, 2016

Anguish, 1995

You can see more of (and purchase) Gao Xingjian’s works at his Artsy page. Alternatively, some of his works are for sale on Artnet.


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