Having exhibited in Beijing, New York and LA (covered here), contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Huan opened his first UK solo show at Pace Gallery. Running until May 31, Spring Poppy Fields features fourteen new oil on linen paintings inspired by the artist’s travels to Buddhist sites in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India, between 2011 and 2014.
Using a pointillist technique, his colorful and psychedelic paintings provide the viewer with some optical illusions. Looking closer skulls appear from their abstraction, while some grinning faces remind of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Drawing inspiration from the hallucinatory effects of the poppy’s opiate properties, the use of skulls motifs reflects the Tibetan beliefs of endless deaths with their cycle of birth, death, rebirth and journey to nirvana.