A world-renowned and multi-talented artist, Gao Xingjian is at once a novelist, dramatist, poet, theater and movie director, painter, and thinker. He was born in 1940 in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China. He settled down in Paris from 1988 onwards. He then acquired French citizenship in 1997 and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000.
His novels and theatrical works are concerned with the human predicament, and the Swedish Academy commended his works for its “universal value, memorable insights, and linguistic ingenuity.” His novels have been translated into forty languages and are widely distributed around the world. His plays are frequently performed in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia, with more than 120 productions to date. His paintings are constantly on exhibition in art museums, art fairs, and galleries around Europe, Asia, and the US. There have been 90 solo exhibitions held and more than 30 albums of paintings published. In recent decades, Gao made 3 “film-poems,” fusing poetry, painting, theater, dance, and music together, and turning film into a total art form.
Gao has received numerous awards and honors. He was recipient of the French Order of Arts and Letters, the French Legion of Honour, the Gold Medal of the French Renaissance, the Premio Letterario Feronia of Italy, the special Homage Award at the Milanesiana, the Premio Roma in Italy, the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy, the Library Lion of the New York Public Library, and the Gold Medal of the European Merit Foundation from Luxembourg. He received the honoris causa doctorates from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Aix-en-Provence, and the Free University of Brussels. In Taiwan, he was awarded honorary doctorates from National Taiwan University, National Central University, National Sun Yat-sen University, National Chiao Tung University, and National Taiwan Normal University.
In addition, Marseilles held a grand artwork exhibition entitled “the Year of Gao Xingjian” in 2003. An international conference on Gao Xingjian’s works was held at Aix-en-Provence in 2005. The Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau organized the Gao Xingjian Arts Festival with the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2008. SOAS, University of London, convened the symposium “Realms of the Spirit in Gao Xingjian’s Literature and Art” in 2010. In 2011, the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany hosted an international conference on the theme of “Gao Xingjian: Freedom, Fate, and Prognostication.” In the same year, Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, sponsored an international conference called “Gao Xingjian: Intercrossings Between Korean and Overseas Perspectives,” while the National Theater of Korea hosted the Gao Xingjian Theatrical Arts Festival. In 2014, “An International Workshop on Gao Xingjian’s Literary Works” was carried out at IAS in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. In 2017, National Taiwan Normal University held the Gao Xingjian Arts Festival. In 2018, the Aix-Marseille University libraries established l’Espace de Recherche et de Documentation Gao Xingjian. In 2020, National Taiwan Normal University Library set up the Gao Xingjian Center. Gao Xingjian is now, since 2012, a Chair Professor at National Taiwan Normal University.