I am always playing on and playing up the strengths of traditional Chinese painting in my work. But I am also looking at film, literature, and philosophy, and using this foundation to break some of the limits of ancient painting.
In his intricately painted silk landscapes and portraits, Hao Liang filters the techniques, themes, motifs, and conventions of traditional Chinese guohua ink wash painting through a contemporary, cosmopolitan sensibility. He weaves together such outwardly divergent influences as classical poetry, modern literature, film theory, and modern art. Much of Hao’s work is concerned with perspectives on temporality, a theme that has historically been approached quite differently by Chinese and Western artists; where traditional Chinese artists tend to represent time as mutable and ambiguous, Hao aims to locate its unique complexity in the present moment. Crucially, he positions image making as not only an exercise in technical skill and art historical knowledge, but also a reflection of lived experience.
Hao was born in Chengdu, China, and lives and works in Beijing. His first exposure to art came at an early age through his godmother’s father, a noted collector of Chinese art who studied under Zhang Daqian, perhaps the most prominent Chinese artist of the twentieth century. (Zhang, a master of guohua painting, died in 1983—the year of Hao’s birth.) Hao enrolled at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, in 2002, majoring in Chinese painting, and graduated with a master’s degree from there in 2009. He considered becoming a teacher, but at the encouragement of fellow artist Xu Lei, decided to pursue painting.
In 2016, Hao showed a suite of paintings titled Eight Views of Xiaoxiang (2014–16) in a solo exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. This set of large-scale works is his interpretation of a traditional subject for East Asian artists. In Hao’s version, each image appears distinct from its conventional depiction, offering a consciously multifaceted treatment of the well-known landscape. In 2017, Eight Views of Xiaoxiang was featured in the central exhibition of the 57th Biennale di Venezia, Viva Arte Viva—where he was one of the youngest participants. In the same year, his work was included in the group exhibitions Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Musée en oeuvre(s) at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Hao’s first solo exhibition in the United States was Portraits and Wonders at Gagosian, New York, in 2018. The exhibition’s centerpiece was Streams and Mountains without End (2017), a panoramic 37-foot-long silk scroll distinguished by a mix of figurative and abstract imagery—a gradual shift from the former style to the latter indicating his increasing focus on symbols and metaphorical elements. Transforming mountains and trees into geometric shapes, Hao combines references to the landscapes of Ming dynasty artist and scholar Dong Qichang, the Cubist compositions of Pablo Picasso, and the abstractions of Vasily Kandinsky.
In 2019, Hao integrated paintings, rubbings, documents, collotype prints, and antique jade into Circular Pond, an installation at the Aurora Museum, Shanghai, and in 2020, he exhibited new works in Garden of Six Seasons, Para Site, Hong Kong. In 2021, his work was included in The Dream of the Museum, the inaugural exhibition at M+, Hong Kong, and in the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10), Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia.
Hao’s work is featured in institutional collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco and Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; and M+, Hong Kong.
Hao Liang: To Forge the Chain of Being
Fan Jingzhong analyzes the classical concepts and references in Hao Liang’s paintings.
Behind the Art
Hao Liang: Poetics of Li Shangyin
Join Hao Liang in his Beijing studio as he discusses the inspiration behind his latest series of paintings, rendered in ink and color on silk. Evoking the tradition of literati painting, the three works picture imagery conceived in response to passages of poetry by the ninth-century poet Li Shangyin.
Hao Liang: Portraits and Wonders
Hao Liang speaks with curator Philip Tinari about Chinese artists and traditions that have inspired him. New works by the artist are currently on view at Gagosian in New York.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022
May 27–29, 2022, booth 1C15
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 with an ensemble of contemporary works by international artists. The gallery’s presentation will feature works by artists including Georg Baselitz, Louise Bonnet, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Simon Hantaï, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Tetsuya Ishida, Alex Israel, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Rick Lowe, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Giuseppe Penone, Rudolf Polanszky, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Jim Shaw, Rudolf Stingel, Spencer Sweeney, Rachel Whiteread, and Zeng Fanzhi.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong
December 8–14, 2021
In his intricately painted silk portraits and landscapes, Hao Liang filters the techniques, themes, motifs, and conventions of traditional Chinese guohua ink wash painting through a contemporary, cosmopolitan sensibility. Referencing projects and oeuvres from a variety of disciplines, periods, and contexts, he weaves together outwardly divergent influences, ranging from classical poetry to modern literature, film theory, and modern art. Much of Hao’s work is concerned with perspectives on temporality. He positions image making not simply as an exercise in technical skill and art historical knowledge, but also as a reflection of lived experience.
Photo: Fan Xi
West Bund Art & Design 2020
November 12–15, 2020, booth A102
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design 2020 with an extensive group presentation. Along with the gallery’s booth at ART021 Shanghai, on view between November 14 and 15, this will be Gagosian’s first in-person art fair since the covid-19 lockdown in March. The gallery’s participation was made possible by extraordinary support from the artists involved.
Hao Liang, Spring and Fall, 2020 © Hao Liang
The Dream of the Museum
Through April 23, 2023
M+, Hong Kong
The Dream of the Museum examines the concept of found objects to show how artists use cultures as source material to update tradition. Beginning with four pioneers of contemporary art—Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik—the exhibition brings together work by twenty-seven artists from across geographies and generations, including Hao Liang and Andy Warhol, who explore chance and found objects in their work.
Hao Liang, Eight Views of Xiaoxiang—Dazzle, 2015 © Hao Liang. Photo: courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
Chinese Art in Transformation
Opened September 25, 2020
Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing
Duration: Chinese Art in Transformation attempts to show how every moment that stretches is an absorption of the past, and the endless possibilities of the future are based on the past and the present. The exhibition presents painting, sculpture, installation, video, animation, and more from the 1970s to the present. Work by Hao Liang, Jia Aili, and Zeng Fanzhi is included.
Hao Liang, Eight Views of Xiaoxiang—Snowscape, 2014–15 © Hao Liang. Photo: courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
Hao Liang in
ON | OFF 2021: Carousel of Progress
February 4–June 5, 2022
He Art Museum, Guangdong, China
ON | OFF revisits the narrative of a 2013 group exhibition of the same title at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, which reflected on the work of a generation of young artists who came of age in China’s era of opening and reform. Emphasizing the curatorial concepts of return, repetition, and the spiral, this new iteration features the work of around thirty Chinese artists from the “post-globalization” era and is divided into three sections: Gestures of Time, Chambers of Memories, and Multiple Echoes. Work by Hao Liang is included.
Hao Liang, A Thread of Sky, 2021 © Hao Liang
Hao Liang in
The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10)
December 4, 2021–April 25, 2022
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
For its tenth edition, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art’s Asia Pacific Triennial looks to the future of art and the world we inhabit together. The Triennial includes sixty-nine projects—from large-scale installations and immersive multimedia artworks to sculpture, textiles, paintings, photography, and video—with new and recent work by emerging and established artists and collectives from thirty countries. Work by Hao Liang is included.
Hao Liang, The Chase of Apollo, Act I, 2021 © Hao Liang. Photo: Yang Chao Studio