Tan Ping, family origin in Yantai of Shandong, was born in Chengde City of Hebei Province in 1960 and was admitted through exams to the Printmaking Department of China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1980. He graduated in 1984 and stayed at the Academy to teach. From 1989 to 1994, sponsored by Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) scholarship, he studied at the Department of Free Painting of Berlin University of the Arts and received Master' s Degree and Meisterschule Degree. From 1994 to 2002, he took part in preparing the start-up of Department of Design of China Central Academy of Fine Arts and became the director of the department. In 2002, he became the Dean of the School of Design and Vice President of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts from 2003 to 2014. Currently he is Vice President of Chinese National Academy of Arts.
From realism to abstract art, then learning from the West and taking a retrospective path to the tradition, there are two points of origin exist in his artistic ideas. The first one is the reference system emerged from a standpoint in modern and contemporary western art that reflects on or rethinks the cultural traditions of China, while the another one takes context of cultural logic and art history of Chinese contemporary art in distant from the West to formulate individualized linguistics and expressions and to establish one’s own methodology. Within the tension of the West versus the East and modernism versus tradition, Tan Ping is searching for an entry point of his own through constant explorations and experiments. Instead of endowing with too many ideas on the works, he has constantly aimed at "purification" and "deduction". He has entered the state of extraordinary individuality in simple and pure style.
His works are collected by major galleries and museums in China and abroad, including the National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Today Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Museum Ludwig, Kolding Museum of Modern Art and Arizona State University Art Museum, etc.