Chevron Headquarters, Beijing


In 2011 Chevron Corporation approached PAA to create a concise but materially diverse collection of Chinese contemporary art that demonstrated the company’s patronage of the finest art from the region. In supporting a powerful statement to Chevron’s Chinese clients and partners of the company’s investment in China for the long term, the CEO was particularly interested in commissioning a younger generation of artists and future established professorial figureheads. To this end, the majority of works were site and message specific commissions and all were by artists under the age of 50.

Upon arrival to the company’s China headquarters at The World Trade Centre Beijing, a six meter triptych commission gives pictorial voice to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism’s Taiji. ‘The supreme ultimate’, the highest conceivable principle from which all existence flows, Taiji creates yin and yang from places of stillness and movement respectively.

This all-pervasive concept underpins traditional Chinese energy systems of cosmology and the elements (Qi) which give rise to the seasons and indeed our own human life cycle. In this work, swathes of intertwined light and shade in mineral hues are chromatically textured to enact the infinite spatial temporal directions of the universe. Employing both oil and tempera on canvas, the artist achieves inclines to peaks and declivities to voids through technically impressive finesse, as if sculpting three-dimensional planes in painting while subtlety of gradation again implies innumerable possibilities spatially and temporally.

Throughout the collection seen overleaf three themes prevail:- the contemporisation of traditional ink practices and calligraphy; nature; and the celebration of ethnic diversity.