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 CPPCC

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 location, 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