Gao Jianxiang gay chinese sculptor painter
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Gao Jianxiang
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April 2, 2022
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Gao Jianxiang’s ghosts of love

The brown silhouettes of Gao Jianxiang’s sculptures seem to be in endless grief. In an eternal embrace, they’re the faces of love rooted in sadness. An ode to love in all its forms, as a blessing and curse.

27-years-old Gao Jianxiang is a sculptor and painter based in China. Born in 1995 in Pingtan County, Fujian Province, he studied the language of sculpture materials at the Tianjing Academy of Fine Arts. Openly gay, his work is profoundly political in a country where the government has a stronghold on art, and censorship prevails.

If homosexuality has been decriminalized since 1997, gay people still face a lot of discrimination in China. Since all art galleries must operate within Chinese law, they must follow the censorship guidelines. If the guidelines leave many gray areas, they don’t leave room for ostensibly gay art. Thus, very few art galleries are willing to exhibit openly queer art. Gao Jianxiang’s work has been exhibited in one of them: ART. Des. The gallery is part of Destination, a Beijing venue that opened 15 years ago as a nightclub and has since expanded as a community center. Providing anonymous H.I.V testing, yoga and dance class, the space is one of the few where gay men can be free to express their homosexuality.

Gao Jianxiang expresses the difficulty to make art in China, as artists are subjected to external and internal pressure. He creates nonetheless sculptures that express gay love poetically. His series of embraces invite the viewer to remember their first love and connect emotionally to the love of others. It’s an invite for acceptance, a letter to society as a whole. Desiring to fight discrimination in today’s society around the world, Gao Jianxiang hopes for a freer place, freer in feelings and acceptance. Scroll down below to discover his ghosts of love and other creations.

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