Xie Nanxing, Spice No. 3, 2016, oil on canvas, 118 1⁄8 × 86 5⁄8".

Xie Nanxing, Spice No. 3, 2016, oil on canvas, 118 1⁄8 × 86 5⁄8".

Xie Nanxing

Thomas Dane Gallery

Oil painting is as foreign to the Chinese visual tradition as kung pao chicken is to Western cuisine. “A Gift Like Kung Pao Chicken,” the title of Xie Nanxing’s solo premiere in London, underscored the artist’s sense of how his work is acculturated in a global context. But perhaps instead of the exhibition being a gift, it’s more like a gift exchange.

At Thomas Dane Gallery’s No. 3 Duke Street space, in a room painted scallion green to add a new flavor to the conventional white cube, a number of paintings from Xie’s “Spices” series, 2016–17, previously exhibited at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, could be seen in a broader interpretive context. Viewers in London who are presumably more erudite in Western art history might have identified Spice No. 3, 2016, with a number of variations of the classic modernist motif of the nude descending the staircase, deployed by artists

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