08/09/2023 - 16/12/2023

Contemporary - Painting

Xie Nanxing - Hello, Portrait!

Tue-Fri: 11-6pm; Sat: 12-6pm

Portraiture is where Xie Nanxing (b. 1970, Chongqing) is at his most playful and experimental. It is, he suggests, the soil that helps his ideas to grow. His most recent portraits display many of the paradoxes and contradictions that are typical of his practice: an engagement with art history that is both deeply academic and mischievously irreverent; the use of highly personal subject matter to explore complex philosophical questions about the nature of representation; a commitment to the most traditional of genres as a way of bringing painting into new territory.

The subjects of Xie’s most recent portraits are either people that have a significant presence in his life or ideas that are important to him and which he felt could be explored through the logic of portraiture. Something about his subjects, Xie says, must suggest an idea for a painting, though exactly what this means is still mysterious to him – he describes painting as a very precise operation, somehow more akin to a mathematical calculation than to an expression of feelings.


St James's 11 Duke St, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BN