Chinese artist Xiao Fan Ru was born in Nakin. He has lived and worked in Paris since 1983. First, he graduated from the university of Nankin, Fine Arts Department in 1982 before arriving in France in 1983. He entered the Beaux Arts de Paris, from which he graduated in 1986. He studied in the studio of Olivier Debré and Pierre Alechinsky.
Ru states that “At that time, [he] was looking for [his] way. [He was trying to establish a link between [his] learning of Chinese calligraphy and the history of Western art.”
Between 1996 and 2000, he painted his Hundred Flowers series, one hundred oils on canvas. He declares: “What really affected me and pushed me to leave China was the impossibility of expressing oneself freely”. Mao had said: “Let a hundred flowers bloom and let a hundred schools compete”. Xiao Fan Ru invents his own floral language, far removed from Maoism, with “great freedom in form and a strong erotic charge”.
Between 2004 and 2009, the artist painted the Bubble Game, which are hyper-realistic still lifes in which toys, faces and bubbles accumulate. The painter began this series at the time of the economic explosion in China, which he discovered in 2005, on his return to his native country, during an exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. “In my paintings, I have captured the material aspect of China, the hustle and bustle that I felt and which has now become a global phenomenon.”
He changed the subject of his painting in 2013: “It’s as if I had arrived in another dimension, more meditative. I paint still lifes under a bell, in a deceptively realistic way, like trompe-l’oeil”. One can see a metaphor of the human condition, hardly optimistic.
“I thought of a phrase from a philosopher who said that when God looks at humans thinking, he laughs.”
Collections and exhibitions
Ru’s works are in several public and private collections, including in France at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris, at the Fond national d’Art contemporain and at the Fonds régional d’Art Contemporain d’Île-de-France.
The artist Xiao Fan Ru has participated in solo and group exhibitions since 1983, mainly in Asia and Europe.
In France, in 2020, the Guimet Museum chose him for its 9th edition of Carte Blanche, where 72 of his porcelain divinities were exhibited.