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Self-Portraits: State of Unbalance - Rossi and Rossi

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION of recent work by the Tibetan artist Norbu Tsering (known as Nortse), entitled Self-Portraits: State of Unbalance, will be on display at Rossi and Rossi – from Thursday, February 14 to Saturday, March 22, 2008.

In recent years, Fabio Rossi has travelled extensively in Tibet and China and met many young Tibetan artists whose work shows an exciting fusion of traditional Tibetan culture and contemporary western art. Self-Portraits: State of Unbalance will be the first in a series of one-man exhibitions at the gallery.

Nortse was born in Lhasa in 1963, and from 1980 to 1991 studied art at various schools, including Tibet University in Lhasa, the Central Arts Academy in Beijing and the art academies in Guangzhou and Tainjing. His early artistic expression as a stage designer coupled with his academician’s training can be seen in his striking mixed media works. Included in his oeuvre are profound photographic statements as well as portraits in oil on canvas.

His work deals with issues which are as relevant to London as Lhasa – global warming, environmental degradation, overpopulation, alcoholism among the young, and the desire to form one’s own identity in a world of mass media and the erosion of culture and tradition.

The Rossi and Rossi exhibition comprises some 14 new works, for sale at prices between £5,000 and £10,000. Nortse mixes traditional realistic oil painting techniques with contemporary photography, a style which he classifies as ‘new painting’. He is one of the few Tibetan artists venturing into multimedia.

Several works in the exhibition depict figures with bandaged faces, three of which are entitled The State I am in, while another more optimistic image, entitled Extrication (pictured), depicts a half-length figure with forearms bound together but the hands opening to release a cloud of butterflies.

Nortse has written, “I gradually came to understand that the power of art to influence people was a matter of culture, not formal language. … I realised that the future of Tibetan art depended entirely upon whether Tibet could maintain its own unique culture. From that point on, in my work I began to focus on the influence of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) on Tibetan culture, and the striking economic changes taking place in Tibet.”

He is a member of the Gedun Choephel Artists Guild in Lhasa and has exhibited in Beijing, Colorado, Königswinter, Lhasa, London, New York and Santa Fe. His work is held in significant private collections in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Switzerland and the USA.

Anna Maria Rossi founded Rossi and Rossi Ltd in London in 1985. In 1988, her son Fabio joined her and together they established a reputation as leading dealers in Indian and Himalayan art, early Chinese and Central Asian textiles and works of art. In recent years they have additionally staged exhibitions of Tibetan and Chinese contemporary artists as well as Western artists who have worked in the East.

These contemporary exhibitions have been met with critical acclaim and a positive audience response, bringing them to the forefront of the thriving contemporary art market. Rossi and Rossi’s clients include distinguished private collectors as well as many major museums worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Tokyo National Museum and the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.

There will be a fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Nortse, price £20.

Times: Monday to Friday – 10am to 5.30pm; Saturday – by appointment.

Rossi and Rossi, 16 Clifford Street, London, W1S 3RG.

For more information call 020 7734 6487 or visit the website.