Ling Jian: Nature Chain

November 19 – December 23, 2015

The Sun, 2015
Oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 70 7/8 inches (200 x 180 cm)

Siren No. 2, 2015
Oil on canvas
118 1/8 x 78 3/4 inches (300 x 200 cm)

Dream of the Red Chamber, 2015
Oil on canvas
70 7/8 x 59 1/16 inches (180 x 150 cm)

Air Purifier, 2015
Oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 70 7/8 inches (200 x 180 cm)

Press Release

Klein Sun Gallery is pleased to announce “Nature Chain,” the first solo show in the U.S. by Ling Jian, on view from November 19 through December 23, 2015.

For the past two decades, Ling has explored the complex portrayals of woman-as-subject in his oil paintings which are hybrids of Eastern and Western aesthetics. In “Nature Chain,” an exhibition three years in the making, he further develops his observational style with large-scale commentaries on society’s obsession with beauty, desire and death.

“Nature Chain” comprises works wherein Ling presents hyper-realistic worlds destroyed by the idolatrous image in which they were created. At first glance, the women and sharks in his paintings appear superficially hollow, merely props for displays of zoological intercourse and commentary on the male gaze. Ling’s intent here, however, is to subvert these messages. The women in his “Siren” series are visions of contemporary beauty, but they are somehow distorted; the sharks are eerily anthropomorphized in their graceful sexual interplay.

Just as a portrait can be transformed by the glamorous expectations imposed on it, as in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Ling’s subjects seem to morph on the canvas, charged by the artist’s philosophies on desire and fear, life and death.

Ling Jian was born in 1963 in Shandong, China. He graduated with a BA from the Fine Arts Department of Tsinghua University Art College, Beijing, in 1986. Ling’s work has been the subject of solo museum exhibitions including "Moon in Glass," at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2011) and at Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2010). Recent group shows include “On Sharks and Humanity,” National Museum of China, Beijing, China (2015); "Face," Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2012); "Lovers Pieces –Contemporary Art from Five Private Collections," Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr, Mülheim, Germany (2010); and “China Gold,” Musee Maillol, Paris, France (2008).

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Robert C. Morgan.  For press inquiries, please contact Ysabelle Cheung at the gallery (212.255.4388) or via email at For all other inquiries, please contact Casey Burry at the gallery (212.255.4388) or via email at