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Zhao Yao

Painting of Thought

About Zhao Yao

Zhao Yao was born in Sichuan province in 1981. He graduated from the Design Arts Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2004. Currently lives and works in Beijing. Since 2005, Zhao Yao has become an increasingly important figure in the emerging generation of China’s contemporary art world. His solo exhibitions has been held at Taikang Space, Beijing Commune (Beijing, 2011 and 2012), Pace London in 2013 and Pace Hong Kong in 2015.

Press Release

  • Painting of Thought


    2015.01.15 – 2015.02.26


    OPENING: 14 JANUARY 2015 (Wed) 6 to 8 pm

    Young artist Zhao Yao will be holding his first Hong Kong solo exhibition at Pace Gallery. Following his Tibetan prayer artworks featured in the 2013 London solo exhibition Spirit Above All, the artist will now be presenting Painting of Thought. This series draws from the visual composition of brain games to bestow the exhibition and images with a similar cognitive model. The thick accumulations of acrylic on fabric give the paintings an aura of materiality, and utilize a destructive rational logic to form a new balance in the relationship between art and artist.

    Zhao Yao uses art to construct a new conceptual form in order to affirm his artworks’ emphasis on state of mind. Meanwhile, through an experiential method from beyond the art system, he has dispelled the interpretive nature of the artwork established within the content-form dialectic. With great ease and unique expression, Zhao Yao warns viewers to be wary of conceptual habits as he attempts to dismantle the knowledge background that primes viewers to passively accept deceptive formal designs.

    It has been rare in recent years to see an artist using painting instead of installation, and practice instead of a critical perspective, to reexamine the relationship between image and viewer through the integration of existing image forms.

    Zhao Yao was born in Sichuan Province in 1981, and graduated from the Design Arts Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2004. Through numerous past solo exhibitions, he has approached the vested exhibition system with the logic of interference and subversion to break down the framework of the contemporary art system. Recent exhibitions include 51m2:3# Zhao Yao at Taikang Space in 2010, Zhao Yao: I Am Your Night and Zhao Yao: You Can’t See Me, You Can’t See Me at Beijing Commune in 2011 and 2012, and Zhao Yao—Spirit Above All at Pace London in 2013.

    As an important figure among the emerging generation of young Chinese contemporary artists, Zhao Yao’s works have been featured in exhibitions at Tate Modern, Fremantle Arts Center, Rubell Family Collection, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, PinchukArtCentre, ZKM Karlsruhe and the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, among others. More recently, his work was featured in the 2nd CAFAM Biennale at CAFA Art Museum, and in group exhibitions at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Palais de Tokyo.

    Media Contact

    PACE HONG KONG +852-2608 5065 /


Pace artist Zhao Yao spoke about his practice at his newly opened solo exhibition, Painting of Thought, at Pace Hong Kong. Click here to watch the video.