Xiaobai Su was born in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in 1949. In 1984, he studied oil painting at China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Later, he received a German cultural and art scholarship to study in the graduate program offered by D?sseldorf National Art Academy in 1987. Germany, therefore, is his second home, a place of re-birth of artistic spirit. The experience of studying abroad is an opportunity for his varying degree of close contact with masters such as Gerhard Richter, George Baselitz, and J?rg lmmendorff.
The two decades of art career in Germany shaped a new Xiaobai Su who gradually forgot his previous way of painting and mode of creating, and who learned to understand the surroundings afresh in a completely new light. The long influence by the masters’ instructions and examples cultivated in him the ability to return to the objects themselves, to rediscover the immediate, subtle internal relations between painting materials, and to understand that materials can speak for themselves. Around 2005, Xiaobai Su came back to Fujian, China, and accidentally rediscovered the thousand-year-old Chinese legacy – lacquer. Suddenly inspired, he began to paint on thick crude sack-cloth and bricks in lacquer. And since then, he has been doing it unrestrained, coming up with works of lacquer one after another in quick succession. Standing before his paintings of lacquer, their imposing momentum - typical of tranquil, grand mountains - compel every viewer’s undivided attention and reticence. His separation from his homeland and immersion in western culture has fostered a deeper understanding of, and fond attachment to, the traditional culture of his motherland. His work integrates meticulous visual form and expressive colors as the artist paints vibrant colored lacquer layer after layer onto sack-cloths, vines and wood planes. This enables the work with a 3-D effect, forming a peculiar texture and arouses in viewers the desire to touch the painting. Su’s paintings permeate his esthetical and meaningful conceptions with a tinge of melancholy. Hubei Province is a cradle of Xiaobai Su’s childhood as well as one of the origins of Chu culture - a place which is renowned for its magnificent lacquer art. The cultural and historical coincidence and accumulation allow Xiaobai Su to stand at the converging point of East-West civilizations and find a picture particular to himself arising in his mind. It represents a new plane on which Western and Eastern civilizations are reciprocally integrated, assimilated, complemented and enhanced in the new era.
Shi Jianbang, “To Capture the Illusive Image of the ‘Way’”.