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Cao Jing Ping
(born in Chongqing, 1972)

“The Lovers”, 2007

acrylic on canvas
120 x 200 cm
signed, titled and dated in Chinese and English on reverse
More info


Cao Jing Ping is an established contemporary artist, born in Chongqing, China in 1972. Cao Jing Ping’s creative work was primarily inspired by the 1990s. Cao Jing Ping’s close-up paintings of insects are a thrilling glimpse into another world. He is concerned with the fragility of life and the harshness of reality. “By contrast, I make a metaphor of life itself in my paintings. That is why I like the freedom of art”. Watching other life forms interact with their environments is a poignant reminder that we are not the only creatures in the food chain. The paintings are visually alluring and delightful, but they become something more profound with their introspective riddles.

Biographic Information

1972 Born in Chongqing, China
1999 Graduated with a Master’s Degree from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute


– directly from the artist
– Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong.
– with Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, 2008.
– private collection, The Netherlands

Selected Exhibitions& Awards

– 2007 RE-collection Schoeni Art Gallery’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition
– 2007 New Power. China Contemporary Art Exhibition, Shanghai Art Museum, China
– 2006 The Self-made Generation: A Retrospective of New Chinese Painting 2005,Zhengda Art Museum, Shanghai, China
– 2005 Turn One’s Hand to the Clouds, Cover One’s Hand in Rain, TS1 Contemporary Art Centre, Beijing, China
Concave-Convex State: Cao Jingping and Chenke, Blue Space Gallery, Chengdu, China Press-gang
Conscript: The New Trend of Chongqing Contemporary Artists, China Art Seasons Gallery, Beijing, China
– 2004 The 10th Chinese Fine Arts Exhibition, Guangdong Art Museum, China.
The contemporary art from Sichuan institute of Fine Arts, Toulouse, France Transformation (solo), Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China.
– 2003 Chinart, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy
Chinart, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary
Schoeni First Anniversary Celebration Exhibition, Schoeni Art Gallery, Beijing, China
Chillies from Chongqing – American tour, Ohio University Art Gallery,
Trisolini Gallery, Wellesley College Art Gallery, Ohio State University Art Gallery, USATransformation (solo),
Schoeni Art Gallery, Beijing, China
– 2002 Chinese Contemporary Fine Artists’ Exhibition, Jingwen Art Centre, Shanghai, China 33
Chinese Artists’ Works, Schoeni Art Gallery Beijing, China Chinart, Kuppersmuhle Sammlung Grothe Museum, Duisburg, Germany
Thought-Provoking Art, Chongqing Art Museum, Chongqing, China The Last Lover was collected by Guangdong Art Museum
– 2001 Sweet Illusion, Shanghai art museum, China Chillis aus Chongqing, Kulturbahnhof, Kassel, Germany Post Politics, The Bloxham Galleries, London, UK
– 2000 Existing State (solo), Shan Gallery, Shanghai, China
– 1999 Exchange (solo), Art Museum of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Chongqing, China
– 1998 Life and Alive (solo), Galerie Studio Kausch, Kassel, Germany
The 14th Printmaking Exhibition of China, Sichuan Art Museum, Chengdu, China
– 1997 Awarded the Luo Zhongli oil painting art scholarship

A World within a World
Excerpt from art criticism essay written
by Fan Di An, 2003

Cao Jing Ping’s paintings of Insects are a thrilling glimpse into another world. In this sense they are reminiscent of mass media, as images of nature are commonplace now in movies, television, and magazines. Man and Nature and the Animal World, the most popular programs on CCTV, always show close-ups of the insect world, and because most programs like these are imported from overseas, it proves that the fascination is not merely a Chinese obsession but a universal one. Watching other life forms interact with their environments is a poignant reminder that we are not the only creatures in the food chain. To compare Cao’s work to the effects on film and television undermines the deeply personal and expressive elements in his works. Cao’s insects are stripped from their natural environments and superimposed into harsh manmade landscapes made of rusted metal and other industrial bi-products of civilisation. Somehow Cao melts these foreign elements effortlessly into a visually pleasing background, and the contrast of the fragile nature with the gritty framework of industrial waste is a thoughtful consideration of the devastation we wreak on our once pristine earth. In this way, his work takes on a political aspect as well. The paintings are visually alluring and delightful, but they become something more profound with their introspective riddles. Cao knows that painting is immensely difficult, and that it is hard for the subtleties of painting to compete with the prolific technology-driven imagery that surrounds us. He knows that to survive, painting has to incorporate progress from other media into its own vocabulary. All these years Cao has been trying to create something new by going back to what has always been painting’s strength; the balance of the individual voice and the voice of an era. Cao’s approach to the creative process is idiosyncratic and interesting. I visited his studio once and found all sorts of little visual treasures: from sketchbooks and painting journals to collages, calendars, and books. The journals did not seem to be thematic experiments, but sincere and humble explorations of an inner self. While these quiet paintings speak volumes about Cao’s introverted character, they also betray the psychological mystery of his persistence in painting insects. In insects, Cao seems to have discovered a world that is beautiful enough for limitless inspiration and vast enough for endless growth.