Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present “Dog Bark”, a solo exhibition by Shanghai-based artist Tang Dixin (b. 1982). He is known for his works which ironically criticize the problems of the Chinese society and art world, and is recognized as one of the representing artists of the new generation in China. Tang’s debut solo presentation in Singapore will feature 10 paintings from his most recent series.
Tang works with various media such as painting, performance art and installation art. While his works may differ in medium, they echo in the radical sensibility of Tang, supplementing one another as significant aspects of his artistic practice. Tang’s paintings are often concerned with social commentary, alongside a sense of anxiety and restlessness. This series also has an added sense of the personal, following an incident in the beginning of the year where the artist was bitten by a dog, which stirred within him manic emotions and an unexplainable delusion of death.
The exhibition title “Dog Bark” refers to a berserk reaction to the world’s overly tranquil or chaotic atmosphere; a howl at death, or even a hysterical laughter. This sense of mania and chaos can be observed in the painting “Violent Torso” which depicts two skeletons wrestling in the foreground, symbolising death, in contrast with living human beings – a muscular male body hoisting a female body over his shoulders – in the background, reflecting a sense of struggle and violence.
Tang states that although the physical appearance of every human being may be different, under the skin lays similar bones, and all will face death eventually. Imagery of brains, skulls, skeletons, and human body parts can also be observed in the other paintings, reflecting the artist’s allusions to life and inevitable death. “No Questioning” depicts two human beings submerged in water up to their chests and a bird perched on one’s hand; all three beings are facing one another, as if in conversation: a silent communication between living things. The tops of their heads are cut open, revealing the emptiness inside. There is a sense of inevitability and helplessness in the face of death portrayed by the skull, and a bizarre feeling of peacefulness in the atmosphere and surroundings – an imaginable scene of the future.
In addition, this series displays an introduction of warm orange and brown hues to Tang’s usual subdued palette of blues and greys. Tang states that he subconsciously spread these colours onto the canvas, picking up a momentum, as the contrast between the oranges and blues brought about a sense of the vigour of life within him. This is apparent in “Fountain”, where an orange light rests upon the contours of three heads against an umber background, water flowing out of the mouths of two of them.
Tang’s provocative trait runs through his works, bringing about a sense of tension and absurdity through his surreal imagery in the works displayed in this exhibition. The line between fact and fiction is blurred, leaving the viewer to conjure their perceptions of what is presented.