Su Xiaobai (B. 1949)

Su Xiaobai (B. 1949)


Su Xiaobai, one of China’s most distinctive painters, was born in 1949 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. In 1965, he joined the School of Arts and Crafts in Wuhan, and from 1985 to 1987, he studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In 1987, he moved to Germany to pursue his postgraduate studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf State Arts Academy), returning to China in 2003. He currently lives and works between Shanghai and Düsseldorf.

Before moving to Germany in 1987, Su’s work inclined towards social realism. However, first-hand experience of avant-garde Western art radically affected his outlook. During the 1990s, his work became progressively less figurative, and following his return to China in 2003, it has increasingly focused on the essential characteristics of colour, shape, and surface. Having eliminated recognizable subject matter and imagery, Su’s arresting and compelling art engages both with the language of Western abstract art and also with the traditions of Chinese philosophy including the Buddhist Sutra: “Everything is nothing, nothing is everything”.

Su Xiaobai has developed a sensuous yet rigorous art that defies classification, and yet whose own chosen medium, lacquer, is steeped in Chinese history. Su’s works are both hedonistic and mystical, defiantly sculptural while exquisitely painted. Ranging from shell-like finishes to sensuous, curved profiles and abraded textures, they exist entirely on their own terms, possessing their own history, character, and independent existence. Rather than depict other objects, his art engages with the idea of being itself. At its centre, Su’s work uses the visual language and context of art to embody issues that are both philosophical and, at an everyday human level, universal.

Solo exhibitions include Beneath a descending moon, breathing (2019–20), Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan; And There’s Nothing I Can Do (2018), Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan; Luminescence (2016), Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore; and Su Xiaobai (2014), Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France. Group exhibitions include Accidents [Part I] (2020), Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China; Abstract by Nature (2019), Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA; The World Is Yours, as Well as Ours (2016), White Cube, Mason’s Yard, London, UK; Jing Shen: The Act of Painting in Contemporary China (2015), PAC Milan Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy; Perfection by Chance—A Yi Pai Series Exhibition (2015), Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China; Where Does It All Begin? Contemporary Abstract Art in Asia and the West (2014), Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore; Chinese Contemporary Abstract: 1980s until Present: MINDMAP (2012), Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China; and Yi Pai: Thirty Years of Chinese Abstraction (2008), Beijing, China and Madrid, Spain.

News & Press

19 Mar 2016


CONTEMPORARY ASIAN ART AT TEFAF 2016 BY PAUL LASTER New to TEFAF 2016 is Pearl Lam Galleries, which has locations in Hon...

18 Sep 2015

Artron|2015 West Bund Art & Design major works Preview


25 Apr 2015

Artnet | The 10 Best Booths at Art Cologne 2015 | Review of Art Cologne 2015

Artnet has posted an article to review the 10 best booths at Art Cologne 2015. As the first-time exhibitor at Art Cologn...

08 Jul 2014

17 May 2014

Su Xiaobai’s simplicity graces Art Basel Hong Kong 2014

By his own admission, German-trained, Shanghai-based Chinese contemporary artist Su Xiaobai prefers simplicity. Whether ...

17 May 2013

Su Xiaobai’s Solo Exhibition at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

TAIWAN— Grand Immensity-the Art of Xiaobai Su features a total of 33 pieces of painting and installation art created by ...

11 Mar 2013

ARTRON | Su Xiaobai: Artists’ Work is to Choose Order from Disorder

By Pan Huimin, Qiu Haoran, 21 Janurary 2013 苏笑柏 华南站_雅昌艺术网 21 Jan 2013...