Liu Xiaodong (b.1963, China)

Liu Xiaodong is one of China's foremost artists and a painter of international stature. Liu depicts modern life, in epic works that serves as history paintings for the emerging world, chronicling the human dimension to such global issues as population displacement, environmental crisis and economic upheaval. His carefully orchestrated compositions walk the line between artifice and reality, while the scale of his projects often matches that of film-making, with elaborate location development work and semi-intuitive story-boarding evident in his detailed project diaries and illuminating documentary films. 

A leading figure among the Chinese Neo-Realist painters to emerge in the 1990's, his adherence to figurative painting amounts to a conceptual stance within a contemporary art context where photographic media dominate. His undertaking 'to see people as they are' was galvanized in the aftermath of the Tienanmen Square uprising and, alert to the legacy of Chinese Socialist Realism, his compositions are painted with loose, casual brushstrokes and layered with meaning.

While he works from life and often en plein air, or 'xiesheng' as it is known in Chinese, Liu chooses sitters to supply ancillary narratives to landscapes or situations. This participatory dimension to his practice, where projects are also documented by diaries and films, reflects an urgent sense of interconnection: 'Society and art', he says, 'should be like breathing - one breaths in and the other breaths out' (2008)

Liu Xiaodong lives and works in Beijing but has undertaken projects in Tibet, Japan, Italy, the UK, Cuba and Austria, and closer to home, in Jincheng, in the north eastern province of Liaoning, China, Where he was born in 1963. He has a BFA and MFA in painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (1988,1995), Where he now holds tenure as professor. He continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Complutense, Madrid (1998-99). Solo exhibitions include Today Art Museum, Beijing (2013); Kunsthaus Graz (2012); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2010); Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2006); and Guandong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2006). His work was been included in numerous group exhibitions such as the Shanghai Beinnale (2000, 2010), the 15th Beinnale of Sydney (2006) and the 47th Venice Beinnale (1997).

Xiaodong, Liu b.1963

related artists / China / Far East