Amongst ink collectors and academics Gao Xingjian is renowned as a distinguished artist, and globally as a canonical writer and playwright of the twenty-first century who was the first Chinese-born writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000 for his novel Soul Mountain.
Born in Jiangxi Province in 1940, Gao began painting at the age of eight, and under the tutelage of his father he studied painting, sculpture and calligraphy with the intention of enrolling at the National Academy of Fine Arts. However, his family persuaded him to study French at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages. After graduation, he worked as a translator whilst continuing to paint and write in Beijing. In 1979, his essays and short stories were first published in literary reviews in China, and in 1981 he published A Preliminary Examination of Modern Fictional Techniques. Though he was officially granted French citizenship in 1998, he became a foremost Chinese émigré novelist and playwright almost immediately after moving to Paris in 1987. In 1992 and 2000 respectively, he was bestowed the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Légion d’Honneur by the French Government. In the gallery’s 2001 catalogue for Gao, art historian Michael Sullivan wrote that “Gao Xingjian’s landscapes are utterly different. It is as though he had left that world behind, and now he stands quite alone. There is nothing now between him and the ultimate truth revealed — as it is to all imaginative Chinese — by the hills and streams. It is a great privilege to be allowed to stand beside him and, through his paintings, to share this experience with him.”
The gallery first began representing Gao in 1994, after Alice King met him through Poon Yiuming, Chief Editor of the Mingpao Monthly. Since then the gallery has organised eight solo exhibitions for him, with notably one in New York in 2004. The gallery has also organised three exhibitions of Gao’s works in conjunction with Le French May, Encre/Chine: Ink Paintings by Jean Degottex, Gao Xingjian and T’ang Haywen at the University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong in 2005, New Works by Gao Xingjian 2007-08 in 2008, and Gao Xingjian: Layers of Light, Ink In Mind in 2016. In recounting his experiences working with the gallery, Gao said “although I live in Europe, my paintings are always in Hong Kong, and I cannot help but thank these kind friends.”
His works have been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Musée Guimet, Paris; Théâtre Molière, Paris; Artothèque de Nantes, France; Maison de la Culture de Bourges, France; La Ville de Marseille, France; Bibliothèque de l’Université de Marseille-Provence, France; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium; Museo Wurth La Rioja, Spain; Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm; Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm; Krapperups Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden; Nobel Foundation, Sweden; Leibnitz Gesellschaft für Kulturellen Austausch, Berlin; Morat Institut für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft, Freiburg; Singapore Art Museum; National Museum of History, Taipei; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong; Chinese University of Hong Kong.