Chinese Contemporary Artists (7) Wang Tiantian: A Different Story to Tell from Previous Generations


Given my family’s background, it was inevitable that I would become an artist,” Wang Tiantian told me, standing in her studio surrounded by canvases that bear little resemblance to the works of her father, artist Wang Huaiqing.

Raw talent runs deep in her family – her grandparents were artists – but Wang Tiantian emphasizes the difference between generations. “There are 25 years between the year my father graduated and started work and when I graduated in 1997, during which time many new things entered China. I’ve never tried to avoid his influence; I simply have a different story to tell.”

To appreciate just how different Wang Tiantian’s work is from her father’s, and how far she has come as an artist over the last 15 years, I have to think back to when we first met in 1995.

As an independent curator, I had arranged to visit her father to interview him about paintings owned by a private collector that I represented. Tiantian, her mother Qinghui, and Huaiqing shared a small four-room apartment in central Beijing. One of the rooms was clearly devoted to art produced by all three family members. I remember seeing Tiantian’s drawings, mostly figure studies. They were good, fairly traditional, and noticeably different from those in her father’s works. His figure studies, predominantly nudes, bordered on the abstract and had a definitive style.


To the Song Master Life Drawing Treasure Birds, Series 1, 2008. 

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