Abstraction As Painterly Rhetoric. A Case Study Between Germany and China: Abstract Art 11

21 July - 2 September 2018

Curated by Thomas Eller, Beijing


PIFO Gallery is delighted to present the annual exhibition Abstract Art already in its 11th iteration. This year the gallery brings together artists from China and Germany. Germany has an extraordinarily strong tradition in painterly abstraction, since its founding moment after 1945, leading up to the founding of documenta, Kassel and beyond.  Consequently artists from Germany have been a source of reference for many Chinese artists.


The highly influential artist Tan Ping studied in Germany in the early 1990. His paintings are juxtaposed with works by Bernard Schultze (1915 - 2005) and Karl Fred Dahmen (1917 - 1981), who are to be found in all major museums and private collections in Germany. PIFO Gallery is proud to be the first gallery to present their paintings in China.


The exhibition at PIFO gallery brings together some of the most renowned abstract artists in China at present, like Wang Chuan, ZhangYu and Kang Haitao, who have worked with the gallery for an extended period of time already, with artists from Germany. PIFO gallery has a strong focus on abstraction in art and is the foremost gallery in China in that field.


Abstraction in art is a long, complex and also international affair. Without the influence of Asian art, modernism in Europe and later the USA would never have developed the same way. And reversely, artists in China after the opening up of the country in 1978 have looked at Western art and artists in order to re-connect to contemporary art on a global scale. Interestingly enough a lot of artist have looked at German art, or gone to Germany to study, only to return and start their careers here in China. Two artists in the exhibition have studied in Germany, Tan Ping (1989-94) and He Jian (2005-11). The others are associated to each other and/or the gallery in friendship.


Also presented are six artists from Germany. Two of them, Bernard Schultze and K.F. Dahmen, were part of a founding generation of German artist immediately after the second world war – a moment that was essential in the development of Germany to become a nation of culture again after the disastrous Nazi-period. The rebirth of German art came as a concerted effort that culminated in the creation of documenta.


The younger artists in the exhibition from both countries, China and Germany show that abstraction not only communicates between the different cultural hemispheres, but also connects very different generations. The exhibition demonstrates just how powerful abstraction in painting can still be as artistic practice under the premise of globalization and digitalization and how painterly rhetoric can still be extremely inventive as artistic language.


In essence, the exhibition can be understood as a pilot of sorts for an ongoing investigation into abstraction as contemporary artistic practice on a global scale.




Bernard Schultze 伯纳德·舒尔茨 (1915 - 2005) Germany 德国

Karl Fred Dahmen 卡尔·弗雷德·达门 (1917 - 1981) Germany 德国

Julio Rondo 胡里奥·朗多 (b.1952) Spain and Germany 西班牙,德国

Wang Chuan  王川 (b.1953) China 中国

Chen Xinmao  陈心懋 (b.1954) China 中国

Zhang Yu  张羽 (b.1959) China 中国

Tan Ping  谭平 (b.1960) China 中国

Liu Jian  刘坚 (b.1961) China 中国

Shi Jun 石峻 (b.1963) China 中国

Huang Jia  黄佳 (b.1964) China 中国

Kang Haitao  康海涛 (b.1976) China 中国

Benjamin Appel 本杰明·阿普尔 (b.1978) Germany 德国

Wang Guangxu 王光旭 (b.1978) China 中国

Enrico Bach 恩里科·巴赫 (b.1980) Germany 德国

He Jian 何健 (b. 1980) China 中国

Carolina Pérez Pallares 卡罗莉娜·佩雷斯·帕拉雷斯 (b. 1980) Ecuador and Germany 厄瓜多尔,德国