the flowing image
It should come as no surprise that Gao, universally known today as a narrator and essayist, is also a remarkable painter. It could hardly be otherwise, considering the breadth and depth of his thought and his full immersion in Chinese culture , a culture and tradition that he reinterprets and brings back to life with the restless sensitivity of a man with no certainties, besieged by an obtuse and fragmented present. Like the great Chinese artists who came before him, Gao is thus a "lettered painter", though in formal terms he chose to abandon the traditional practice of calligraphy and make a break with past to adopt the western division of genres and so separate written from visual work. The one, however, feeds, enlightens and legitimises the other in the complete and intact coherence of the poetic attitude. In other words Gao distinguishes the means and environments - the "how" - of his expression, but defends the unity and substance of his poetic thought - the "what" - that finds harmonious expression in everything he produces.
Marilena Pasquali, March 2003
(from the introduction to the catalogue)