‘There are universal values shared among artists and scholars around the world’
The Chinese-born artist unfolds his search for abstraction in all art, his pursuit of musicality and why all art should be judged by the same standards regardless of nationality.
Born in Nanjing in 1946, Jiang Dahai trained in China before moving to Paris where he has been based for many years. His study of Chinese traditional art forms, as well as various instances of European and American modernism, has yielded a singular vision that evades stylistic and geographical boundaries, narrowing the gap between abstraction and figuration. Far from producing facile appropriations, Jiang interrogates and distils eastern and western traditions, extracting what he requires from each, while suggesting the affinities that characterise such diverse artistic moments as the cloud paintings of the Southern Song dynasty, Degas’s monotypes and Rothko’s numinous colour fields.
On display in London are several of his ineffable, meditatively vaporous cloudscapes whose optical plenitude should ideally be experienced in person. For his concurrent exhibition in Paris, Jiang recently enacted his poised, deliberate process of painting the canvas, not by direct application of the paintbrush but with a nebulous spray of myriad droplets in multiple layers, a technique that echoes his very subject matter.