Chinese, b. 1972, Handan. Lives and works in Beijing.


As a young adult Wang Jian worked as a train driver while following a period of self-directed study – reading extensively on literature, art, history and Zen. He completed the Plastic Arts Studio course at the Chinese Painting Department, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 2003. His work, both abstract and minimal, refers his early exploration of Eastern philosophies and demonstrates in its maturity and sophistication, his growing interests in Western poetry and sociology.


Wang Jian’s works could be considered as visual autobiographies. Everything and nothing are equally important to him and to his work. Every thought and feeling, his time in the studio and every other moment of his life, is compressed and held in the vast emptiness of his black canvases as well as in the small blank spaces he sometimes leaves unpainted. To some extent Wang Jian’s work could be defined in terms of Chinese Maximalism.


Wang Jian’s ideas are fixed, complete and finished – almost in an instant as his practice often has a starting point in photography – and then fixed again in the pragmatic form of a painting. Yet many of his works are simultaneously in a state of continual flux and uncertainty. Many of his photographic ‘sketches’, artworks in their own right, also act as departure points for other works. The liminal – the fissures and areas of intense blackness in his paintings – all gesture at ‘nothingness’ and bring us full circle resolving Wang Jian’s practice once again into a coherent body of work that is simultaneously spiritual and sublime, relevant and provocative.