Liu Xiaodong

Liu Xiaodong
b. 1963, Jincheng, Liaoning
Liu Xiaodong graduated in 1988 from the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing where he is currently part of the faculty. His work is characterized by a realistic narrative, which seems unconcerned with the ongoing aesthetic changes and the rapid succession of theoretic constructs that has been affecting the Chinese art world since the mid 1990s.
Liu’s paintings are well-structured figurative compositions executed with a rich communicative palette and energetic brushstrokes able to capture subtle psychological details. His subjects are mainly friends or acquaintances cast in idle postures, with bored, vacant or derisive expressions and pictured in situations that are the product of the artist’s recollection and personal experiences. In dealing with such topics, he offers a peculiar sensibility and an on-the-spot immediacy intensified and offset by a certain masculine distance. Yet these compositions also possess an almost melancholic turn.
Since his first solo show was held in Beijing in 1990, he has taken part in many exhibitions in China and abroad, including ‘Representing the People’ that toured the UK in 1998 and the 3rd Shanghai Biennale in 2000. A retrospective of his work, ‘Liu Xiaodong 1990–2000’, was organized at the Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in the same year. In Liu’s recent works, the sympathetic representation of peasants living on the borderline between urban and rural spaces reflects his deep concerns about the growing social inequalities affecting Chinese society since the end of the twentieth century.
Jose, Nicolas (2001). ‘At Home: Liu Xiaodong and Yu Hong’. Art AsiaPacific 30:42–9.
Ying, Yi (2000). Liu Xiaodong. Changsha: Hubei Fine Art Publishing.
——(2000). ‘Liu Xiaodong’. In John Clark (ed.), Chinese Art at the End of the Millennium. Hong Kong: New Art Media Limited, 213–14.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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