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About Gao Xingjian > Timeline

  • 1940 (Age 0)

    Born January 4 in Ganzhou, Jiangxi. His ancestral hometown is Taizhou, Jiangsu. He was homeschooled from a young age by his mother. He began drawing when he was 8 years old and has never stopped. At age 10, he wrote his first novel and drew his own illustrations.

  • 1950 (Age 10)

    His whole family relocated to Nanjing.

  • 1952 (Age 12)

    Enrolled at the Nanjing No. 10 Middle School (later renamed Nanjing Jinling High School). Studied sketching, watercolor painting, oil painting, and sculpture under the tutelage of artist Yun Zongyin.

  • 1957 (Age 17)

    Enrolled at the Department of French of the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

  • 1962 (Age 22)

    Graduated from the Department of French, Beijing Foreign Studies University and worked as a translator at the China International Bookstore, while also painting and writing on the side.

  • 1970 (Age 30)

    Sent from Beijing to the rural countryside to do hard labor for 5 years. In his spare time, he studied photography by taking photos of farmers.

  • 1975 (Age 35)

    He was allowed to go back to Beijing from the mountainside of southern Anhui Province and became the head of the French translation team at the magazine China Reconstructs. He also studied photography and photo development as he continued to paint.

  • 1977 (Age 37)

    Worked for the Committee of Foreign Relationship, Chinese Association of Writers.

  • 1979 (Age 39)

    In May, he visited Paris with a group of Chinese writers including Ba Jin as their interpreter.

  • 1980 (Age 40)

    Became a playwright for the Beijing People's Art Theatre.

  • 1981 (Age 41)

    Became a professional writer and continued to pursue painting and photography on the side.

  • 1982 (Age 42)

    Absolute Signal, which he co-authored with Liu Hui-yuan, debuted at the Beijing People's Art Theatre.

  • 1983 (Age 43)

    The Bus Stop premiered at the Beijing People's Art Theatre.

    In the spring, he was misdiagnosed with lung cancer and left Beijing to travel the Southwest China. The diagnosis later proved to be a false alarm.

  • 1985 (Age 45)

    Wild Man premiered at the Beijing People’s Art Theatre and was subsequently banned.

    Mounted the unofficial exhibition “Yin Guanzong and Gao Xingjian Sculpture and Painting Exhibition” in Beijing with sculptor Yin Guanzong. The two-week exhibition garnered the attention of the Chinese and European media, and remains his only exhibition in China.

    After receiving a DAAD scholarship, he spent 8 months visiting 5 European countries (Germany, France, UK, Austria, Denmark), mounting his first overseas solo exhibition at the Berliner Kunsterhaus Bethanien, which received international acclaim.

  • 1986 (Age 46)

    After returning to Beijing from Europe, he supported his writing career through painting, which became his primary career.

    The Other Shore was banned and only performed in rehearsals.

  • 1987 (Age 47)

    Invited to do a one-year drawing and painting residency at the Morat Institut fur Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft in Germany.

    Shelter the Rain premiered in Stockholm.

  • 1988 (Age 48)

    Settled in Paris to paint and write professionally.

  • 1989 (Age 49)

    Became a member of the “Salon Figuration Critique” and participated in the salon’s annual exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris for three consecutive years.

    Awarded the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship from the US.

    The Hong Kong Dance Company premiered City of the Dead from January 30 to February 4.

    On February 1, Unitas Publishing Co. published his first short story collection Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather, the first of his works published in Taiwan.

  • 1990 (Age 50)

    The Chinese government revoked his official positions and Communist Party membership, and seized his residence in Beijing following the publication of his work Escape.

    His novel Soul Mountain was published by Linking Press.

    Granted asylum by France in March.

    June 9 to 12, The Other Shore premiered at the National Taiwan Arts Education Center, performed by the Department of Theater, National Institute of the Arts.

  • 1992 (Age 52)

    Escape premiered at the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern. Mr. Gao created an ink wash painting for the performance.

    Awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

    Became a member of La Maison des Artistes.

    September 25, Dialogue and Rebuttal was first performed in Vienna by the Theater des Augenblicks with Mr. Gao as the director.

    October 11 to November 2, first visit to Taiwan.

    October 16, Absolute Signal was first performed in Taiwan under the name Alarm Signal by the Godot Theatre Company at the Taipei Main Station Performing Hall.

  • 1993 (Age 53)

    January, Between Life and Death premiered at the Théatre Renaud-Barrault in France.

  • 1995 (Age 55)

    His novel Soul Mountain was translated into French by Noël et Liliane Dutrait, and was well received upon its publication.

    Held his first solo exhibition in Taiwan at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

  • 1997 (Age 57)

    Became a French citizen.

  • 1998 (Age 58)

    His novel One Man’s Bible was published by Linking Press.

  • 1999 (Age 59)

    Participated in the 19th Biennale des Antiquaires at the Louvre Museum.

  • 2000 (Age 60)

    October 12, received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

    Received the Premio Feronia-Città di Fiano.

    December, the Asia Art Center published the painting album Gao Xingjian.

  • 2001 (Age 61)

    Awarded an honorary doctorate in literature by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Awarded an honorary doctorate in literature by National Sun Yat-sen University.

  • 2002 (Age 62)

    Received the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur and the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award.

    September 29, National Chiao Tung University awarded an honorary doctorate to Mr. Gao, held the “Gao Xingjian Ink Wash Exhibition” at the university library’s Arts Center, and published the painting album Gao Xingjian.

    October 18, National Central University awarded an honorary doctorate to Mr. Gao and held the “Gao Xingjian and Contemporary Chinese Literature” symposium.

  • 2003 (Age 63)

    The City of Marseille, France designated 2003 as the Gao Xingjian Year, organizing large-scale art events.

  • 2004 (Age 64)

    The Chinese University of Hong Kong established the Gao Xingjian Repository.

  • 2005 (Age 65)

    The University of Provence held the “International Symposium on Gao Xingjian's Literary Works.”

    January 28, the National Taiwan University awarded Mr. Gao an honorary doctorate at the “International Symposium on Gao Xingjian's Literary Works” at the University of Provence.

    The Asia Art Center published the painting album Gao Xingjian - Retrospective.

  • 2006 (Age 66)

    Completed first cinematic poem Silhouette / Shadow.

    Received the New York Public Library Lions Award.

  • 2008 (Age 68)

    Awarded La Minanesiana Award.

    The Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau and Chinese University of Hong Kong co-organized the “Gao Xingjian Art Festival.”

    Completed his second cinematic poem After the Flood.

    April, his collection of essays Lun chuangzuo (On Creation) was published by Linking Press.

    April 29 to May 4, National Taiwan University of Arts organized the “Gao Xingjian Literary Tour.”

    May 2 to 25, he held the solo exhibition “Deep Ink, Profound Conception” at the Asia Art Center.

  • 2010 (Age 70)

    Received the Médaille d’or de la Fondation du Mérite Européen in Luxembourg.

    Lun xiju (Theses on Theater), co-authored with Gilbert Fong Chee-fun, was published by Linking Press.

    April 16 to May 9, he held the solo exhibition “Light & Shadow” at the Asia Art Center.

    April 16 to 23, visited Taiwan to attend the “21 Century World Chinese Literature Summit.”

  • 2011 (Age 71)

    February, became a chair professor at National Taiwan Normal University and accepted the letter of appointment in Paris.

    The University of Erlangen–Nuremberg in Germany organized the “Gao Xingjian: Freedom, Fate, and Prognostication” international conference.

  • 2012 (Age 72)

    Awarded the médaille d’or de la Renaissance française.

    February, NTNU opened the course “Studies on Plays of Gao Xingjian.”

    May 15 to June 12, NTNU organized the “Encounter Gao Xingjian at NTNU” series of events.

    June 7 to 10, the Mandarin version of Nighthawk was performed for the first time at the NTNU Zhi Yin Black Box Studio.

    June 11, his poetry collection Wandering Mind and Metaphysical Thoughts was published by Linking Press.

  • 2013 (Age 73)

    June 24, NTNU organized the “A Tale of Shan Hai Jing - Gao Xingjian International Symposium”.

    June 28 to 30, the musical A Tale of Shan Hai Jing was performed for the first time at the National Concert Hall.

    June 29 to July 28, his solo exhibition “The Edge of Reality” was held at the Asia Art Center.

  • 2014 (Age 74)

    March 18, the cinematic poem Requiem for Beauty premiered in Taiwan at the National Palace Museum. The film was played at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum on the 19th, National Taiwan Museum of Arts on the 20th, and NTNU on the 23rd.

  • 2015 (Age 75)

    August 23 to 31, A Tale of Shan Hai Jing performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

  • 2016 (Age 76)

    June 1, the Requiem for Beauty art book was published by the NTNU Press.

    June 7 to 8, an authorized rendition of Soul Mountain was performed at NTNU.

    June 8 to July 8, the “Calling for a new renaissance” solo exhibition was held at the Asia Art Center.

  • 2017 (Age 77)

    May 19 to June 2, NTNU held the “Gao Xingjian Art Festival.”

    May 22, NTNU awarded Mr. Gao an honorary doctorate in literature.

  • 2018 (Age 78)

    The Aix-Marseille University Library established the “Gao Xingjian Research Space.”

  • 2019 (Age 79)

    May 2 to 5, Soliloquy premiered worldwide at NTNU.

    Received the Premio Roma award from the Associazione Ostia Cultura.

  • 2020 (Age 80)

    NTNU established the Gao Xingjian Center.

    The book Journey to Soul Mountain was published by NTNU Press.

  • 2021 (Age 81)

    January 25, official opening of the NTNU Gao Xingjian Center.

    January 25 to March 25, NTNU held the “Journey to Soul Mountain - Gao Xingjian Special Exhibition.”

  • 2022 (Age 82)

    April 4, awarded a Commandeur of the Legion of Honour.

    November 9 to December 26, NTNU held the “Gao Xingjian’s Donated Manuscripts and Collections Exhibition.”

    His collection of essays Calling for a New Renaissance was published by Cambria Press.

    His painting album Inner Vision was published by Linking.