Among the new band of Chinese contemporary artists, Zhang Xiaogang is probably the most different. While others like Yue Minjun and Fang Lijun are bold and loud, Zhang is more subtle and sublime. Zhang's paintings which imitate old black and white or sepia toned photographs are always painted in few colours with only a dash of bold colour occasionally. This makes Zhang's works very intense and yet soft.
Zhang's works show portarits of men, women and children in expresssionless manner, reminiscent of the olden days when photos were taken in studios. They thus remind us of the era that was in China.
The colours used occasionaly are symbolic like Red for Communism, etc. Zhang's works however have changed a lot over the years. Initially trained as an oil painter at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1982, Zhang had joined a group of young artists who came to international prominence during the 1980s. During this time Zhang was till experimenting wth Pop and Chinese realsitic styles.
Then he suddenly came to prominence with his "Mao goes pop" show in Sydney in1993. Since then Zhang has been showing his works in various countries and everywhere he has been successful.
Zhang is also the founder of an avant-garde artists' group in China which holds it shows internationally.