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A central figure in contemporary art in China, Jia Aili creates dynamic compositions that both emerge from and challenge art historical assumptions in the context of a rapidly changing world. “Jia Aili: Combustion” includes twenty-nine paintings from the past ten years, grouped into four sections that trace the evolution of Jia’s oeuvre. In his epic tableaux, which move between genre painting, portraiture, fantasy, and abstraction, he reflects on the dramatic modernization of society while probing the vulnerabilities of the existential human condition. New meaning emerges out of this interweaving of disparate narratives. Within Jia’s invented spaces, archetypes recur, each of which is related to a certain time or cultural context. Human figures, multidimensional geometries, and fragments of architecture, land, and machinery are juxtaposed to create what Jia calls “a structured constellation of history,” fusing past and present in kaleidoscopic amalgamations.