Mediator from the Middle Kingdom

  ZDF has often covered the political, economic and, of course, cultural developments in China in our documentaries and features. Our coverage was particularly intensive back in 2006 when we collaborated on a large-scale project with Chinese television. Shot near Shanghai, it became a six-part documentary on Chinese history and stories from the Middle Kingdom.

  Another very special story from the Far East is that of Xiaobai Su, an artist who himself lives in the art metropolis of Shanghai. Xiaobai Su has become one of the widely talked-about artists of his generation in China. Having received a classical training in traditional Chinese painting at the Central Aca-de-my of Fine Arts in Beijing from 1965 to 1969, he later began to explore other art forms, and indeed other cultures. In 1987 he won a scholarship to the Kunstakademie Dsseldorf. That is where he discovered a different way of working, a modern form of expression and new ways of thinking. Those years in Germany made the artist from the Middle Kingdom an ideal mediator between our two cultures.

  The links between China and Germany were forged at both an artistic and a personal level. For it was in Germany that Xiaobai Su met his future wife, who had followed a similar path from China. Studying German at a Chinese university in the 1980s, she took part in a televised discussion at ZDFs Shanghai Studio in 1984. After the broadcast she corresponded with German academics and this finally led to a scholarship to study in Dsseldorf in 1988. So it was not entirely unlikely that the paths of these two students should have crossed.

  As luck would have it, my own path also crossed with that of Xiaobai Su one day. I was with a ZDF delegation to China, visiting the German consulate in Shanghai, and he was there as a member of a programme for artistic exchange between China and Germany. That meeting marked the beginning of regular contacts and a close partnership. Xiaobai Sus first Germany exhibition was in 2000 at the Parliament in Mainz. In 2008, now with a strong reputation as an outstanding Chinese-German artist, he put on a travelling exhibition supported by ZDF in Mainz.

  So I have looked forward to this latest exhibition with particular pleasure. Xiaobai Su The Dy-nasty of Colours has been organised by ZDF in cooperation with the Neuss-based Lan-gen Foundation. It represents another major highlight in the ongoing artistic dialogue between East and West. This exchange is expressed in Xiaobai Sus attempt to create a universal language of form and colour through his intensively colourful abstract paintings. In his unique way, Xiaobai Su succeeds in fusing colour and material to form a multi-layered and thus highly suggestive composition. His work allows very different approaches in terms of culture and history to interact and flow into each other. Indeed, in an age of globalisation this open dialogue is exactly what we want in art and beyond for the sake of all our futures.

                 Prof. Markus Schchter, director-general of ZDF