David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Yan Pei-Ming, on view at the gallery's 519 West 19th Street space. Born in Shanghai in 1960 and based in Dijon, France, Ming has gained international recognition for his large-sized, monochromatic portraits. His subjects, which range from historical figures, political leaders, and celebrities to anonymous soldiers, serial killers, female prisoners, orphans, and the artist himself, are typically presented face-on, with bold and expressive brushwork. The artist's fluid yet precise technique and his use of shallow pictorial space combine to create iconic, monumental, and psychologically charged works.
The paintings in this exhibition, Ming's second at the gallery, relate to events in the recent and distant past. In a departure from previous work by the artist, they extend beyond the depiction of a singular subject to reference broad historical issues and, in the process, the gap that exists between the events and their visualization. Often taking a combination of mass media imagery and his own recollections of a motif as his starting point, Ming thus broadens a traditional understanding of the medium of painting: he refers to his large-scale canvases as "collages" of photographs and memories, while medium-specificity is further cast into question by the fluidity of the artist’s painterly technique, which at times resembles watercolor.