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Xu Dongdong: Chinese abstract painting goes global
Last Updated: 2015-06-12 14:15 | chinapictorial.com.cn
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No.1, Souls of Creatures in Four Seasons series, acrylic on paper, 179*384cm, 2013-2014

Early summer of 2015 brought Beijing landscapes dotted with lush plants and flowers. Just after sitting down, Xu Dongdong reveals Souls of Creatures in Four Seasons, his latest series of paintings which was just completed a few months ago. Viewed from afar, the series leaves a similar impression to Western abstract paintings. However, a closer look shows that the paintings are full of Chinese elements. Using acrylic as pigment, the paint was applied to rubbed Chinese rice paper, which is moistened before receiving coats of paint to create a singular image.

Xu's interview with China Pictorial marked his first media interview since he left the public eye more than a decade ago. The interview began with a look at his Chinese abstract paintings. As a pioneer, Xu hopes to construct an open artistic system for Chinese paintings to move from traditional to modern, and from regional to international.

Young Star

Xu was born in 1959 to a Beijing family of scholars. He fell in love with painting as a kid. "Although I was tutored by many teachers, I started to learn traditional Chinese painting by imitating works of Chinese masters from various dynasties," he recalls. In the 1970s, the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, dried its collected paintings in batches in natural conditions every year. The move brought greater opportunities for various exhibitions. Xu, then a teenager, visited almost every exhibition to study great works from ancient masters, and often stayed at the museum for a whole day.

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