The Sick Man cometh!
Published: Aug 03, 2011 08:24 AM Updated: Aug 03, 2011 08:25 AM

One of Zhao Gang's paintings Photo: Li Gao

It's a pity artist Zhao Gang's exhibition only ran two weeks at Today Art Museum. Last Saturday, also the last day of his solo exhibition this year, many art lovers were still wandering among his four giant oil paintings featuring naked women stretching their bodies sitting on a table or laid on a sofa.

Zhao, who spent many years studying and living overseas, named his latest solo show A Sick Man. It comes from the two models he hired for this show three months ago.

"It was quite tight schedule with only three months for me. I wanted to show something different. The two models suffered from serious sickness and often took a lot of pills during breaks. So I had the idea of Sick Man," the 50-year-old artist recalled.

And the recent one and other food safety scandals inspired him to pay much attention to this society. "We can't deny the fast development of this country. But what troubles us are other serious problems including safety things from food to traffic, as well as other big city's sickness," said Zhao.

Zhao, considered a representative Chinese artist of German expressionism, received all his academic education in Holland and the US. Before he returned in 2001, most of his artworks were favorites at overseas galleries. Now he is more focused on topics related with China.

The new paintings explain his thoughts well. The models show their pain through their body language, the same message that the painter delivers to the viewers. They hide their sickness and behave like the healthy.

In fact, in the curator's eyes, Zhao himself, a Chinese living in the US for decades, is a "sick man". Curator Tian Feiyu said in 2007 that Zhao Gang is the "victim of that time".