Xiaodong, Liu b.1963 / The fire of 1841
Additional images
Xiaodong, Liu b.1963 / The fire of 1841Xiaodong, Liu b.1963 / The fire of 1841Xiaodong, Liu b.1963 / The fire of 1841Xiaodong, Liu b.1963 / The fire of 1841
about this work
The painter Liu Xiaodong is one of the most well-known representatives internationally of a generation of Chinese artists who grew up in a new society marked by rapid and frequent shifts in perspective. He uses the language of Social Realism and conventional documentary media to lend a voice to daily life against the background of radical change. Earthquakes, changes in landscape and human-made ecological disasters as well as social formation based on economic transformation: all this has been captured by Liu Xiaodong. He confronts the developments by visiting the places concerned and attempting to capture the significance of events in visual form.

In this work, the artist has chosen Eisenerz in Upper Styria, Austria (NW of Graz), where he lived and worked for a month with a team of assistants and camera operators. The situation with the centuries-old industrial and cultural landscape bears a striking resemblance with conditions in China. Eisenerz, exposed to an enormous process of change, is suddenly transformed into a global model. The degeneration caused by structural shifts and the accompanying social transformation have created clearly visible problems; attempts to overcome them are varied. As a painter, Liu does not tackle events and historical developments in a combative way, rather as a chronicler. He attempts to express the transition from one form of society to the other through pictures.

The work was exhibited for the fist time in Liu Xiaodong's 2012 exhibition titled ‘The Process of Painting’ at the Kunsthaus Graz, curated by Guenther Holler-Schuster. Xiaodong worked in situ in the mining town Eisenerz in Upper Styria. The composition for this painting is inspired by a Tendler painting titled Lighting and Miners' Parade in Eisenerz. The fire Ziaodong includes in the paitning is a surrealist element and an allegory for disaster and change.

Liu Xiaodong (b.1963, China)

The fire of 1841, 2012

Oil on cotton duck
250 x 300 x 4 cm
98 7/16 x 118 1/8 x 1 9/16 in.
Lisson Gallery, London, UK Christie's Hong Kong Asian 20th Century Art Evening Sale May 27 2017 Current Location:
Hong Kong - BRINK'S HK PaintingFar East


Slow Homecoming
05/07/2018 - 09/15/2018

Lisson Gallery Booth
Frieze Art Fair, London, UK
October 2012

The Process of Painting
Kunsthaus Graz
June 2012 - September 2012


Park Eunju, Breaking Stereotypes of Art Investment
Forbes Korea (Online), February 23 2018
View Publication »

Christie's, Asian 20th Century Art Evening Sale
(Catalogue), May 27 2017

Marie Rousseau, Combining Art And Finance
(Online), December 2015
View Publication »

Eunju Park, Collector
Art Books (Book), November 2015, pp. 335

Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Artist Spotlight: Liu Xiaodong
(Online), January 4, 2015
View Publication »

Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Liu Xiadong
Verlag fur moderne Kunst Nurnberg (Monograph), September 2012
View Publication »

related works / Liu Xiaodong / Far East / Painting