Pan Gongkai

1947, Ninghai Zhejiang China


The son of renowned 20th-century master Pan Tianshou (1897–1971), Pan Gongkai was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province on January 24, 1947. He previously served as president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. Pan Gongkai represented China at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and has exhibited in numerous museums across Asia. A contemporary master of ink painting, Pan has been one of the most ardent experimenters with its forms.

When studying the art of his father Pan Tianshou in the 1980s, the artist began to reckon the importance of xieyi, that is the expression of spontaneity and the spirit of a being through brush works. Through this expressive technique and his preservation of the traditional concept of ink and brush, Pan's works exude the elegance of the ancient literati. However, his firm belief in producing large-scale works in a large brush and big splashes of ink (da bi da mo) confirms his sensitivity of how ink paintings can fit in the contemporary art context.

Particularly occupied with the recent and rapid explosion of Western influence on China in the last century, Pan’s works explore the intersections and divergences between Eastern and Western art traditions. By combining elements of both perspectives, he presents a new relevancy of Chinese brush and ink painting in today’s world. This fusion of Chinese and Western techniques, once viewed as completely divergent artistic practices, results in a series of work that does not seek to reconcile the differences between the East and West but rather adapts their unique qualities to reflect a global perspective from today’s China.

1947    Born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province
1964-1968    Studied at the Middle School Attached to the Zhejiang Academy of Art
1968-1979    During the Down to the Countryside Movement in Cultural Revolution transferred to a rural region in southern Zhejiang
1978    Studied at the Chinese Painting Department of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art)
1979-1986    Served as a teacher in Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts
1986-1987    Director of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts
1987-1992    Director of the Chinese Painting Department Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts
1992-1994    Visiting professor of Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley and offered an honorary doctorate degree by the San Francisco Art Institute
1994-1996    Director of the Research Department, China Academy of Art
1996-2001    President of China Academy of Art
2001   President, professor and Ph.D. candidate mentor of Central Academy of Arts, Vice Chairman of Chinese Artists' Association, member of the National Committee of CPPC
2014    Retired from the President of Central Academy of Arts


  • Pan Gongkai – Dispersion and Generation, Today Art Museum, Beijing
  • Melting, large multimedia installation, Venice Biennale, Venice
  • Mis-conception and Transfer of Minds: Beyond Duchamp Art Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing
  • Still Water Running Dee: Pan Gongkai Solo Exhibition toured at various locations, including Tokyo University of the Arts; Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei; Macau Museum of Art; Hong Kong Arts Centre; The National Art Museum of China, Beijing, etc.

The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC)
Shanghai Art Museum
Guangdong Museum of Art
Zhejiang Art Museum
Ningbo Museum of Art
Sichuan Art Gallery
Jiangsu Art Museum
Shaanxi History Museum
Tianjin Art Museum
Guan Shanyue Art Museum
Hubei Institute of Fine Arts
Art Gallery of Luxun Academy of Fine Arts
Shandong University of Art and Design
Ningbo Bang Museum
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Macau Museum of Art
Macau Polytechnic Institute
Tokyo University of the Arts
The Frye Art Museum
The San Diego Museum of Art