lives and works
Beijing, New York, and London
BA, Central Institute of Nationalities, Beijing, China, 1984
MFA, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, UK, 2000
about the artist
Of insightful flair and cutting humor, Gonkar Gyatso’s work is a potent metaphor of struggles with identity politics, capitalist forces, and soft powers of world hegemonies. Wielding the Buddha as a primary muse, the artist embodies in his art an innately inseparable link between religion, tradition, and all that he perceives around him. The extraction, selection, and distillation into his loaded compositions from the saturated mediascapes and rampant consumerism in which we live perpetuate the legacy of Pop in the twenty-first century. In his obsessive stickering, drawing, montaging, and writing, he chronicles his migratory existence while testifying to a global homogenization. Currently living and working in between Beijing, London, and New York, Gyatso operates in printmaking, collage, painting, and sculpture. He has made it his mission to introduce contemporary Tibetan art beyond its place of origin—he has led, mobilized and supported his fellow Tibetan artists as well as those of the Tibetan diaspora and has propelled the genre to the forefront of the art world. He has staged solo shows in Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Finland, and Tibet. Group exhibitions that have included his work have been held at institutions such as the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, USA; the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia; the National Art Gallery in Beijing, China; the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland; the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, UK; the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam in the Netherlands; and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. He was also featured in the Arsenale at the 53rd edition of the Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy. Notable recent exhibitions include participation in Roundabout, an international touring exhibition that traveled from the City Gallery Wellington in New Zealand to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, and, most significantly, his large retrospective THREE REALMS: Gonkar Gyatso, which was held in Australia, concurrently at the University of Queensland Art Museum, the Griffith University Art Gallery, and the Institute of Modern Art. The artist’s first major monograph was also published to coincide with these exhibitions.