Lisson Gallery is delighted to announce that it is now representing Liu Xiaodong.
Liu Xiaodong is one of China’s foremost artists and a painter of international stature. Born to factory worker parents in Jincheng, northern China in 1963, he trained at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts where he now works as a professor. Liu is a supremely proficient realist painter, heir to Chinese Socialist Realism which became dominant in the Mao years, a fusion of Western nineteenth Century Realist painting as filtered through Russian academic and then official Soviet styles.
Liu Xiaodong paints ‘en plein air’, introducing performative and participatory dimensions to his practice. The scale of his projects often matches that of film-making, with elaborate location development work and semi-intuitive story-boarding chronicled in detailed project diaries. His painting style is therefore skilled, self-conscious and carefully planned – American art historian Jeff Kelly has said that ‘Liu’s art lies in creating zones of artifice not in the studio, but in the middle of real life.’ The paintings are also candid, fluid and responsive. Focusing on individual people, he captures the full range of human emotion: hope, ambition, satisfaction – but also confusion, longing and despair.
In works like the ‘Three Gorges’ series (2003-6), Liu Xiaodong has created epic history paintings of the emerging world: moving individual portraits which also reveal deep undercurrents of social change – population displacement, urban development and environmental disruption. While his subjects have often focused on China, he has made projects internationally in Tibet, Japan, Italy, Cuba and most recently Austria – as befits the chronicler of humanity’s accelerated global evolution.
Liu Xiaodong’s major exhibition ‘Hometown Boy’ is currently on display at the Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, along with two new works made in the nearby mining town of Eisenerz. He is currently working in the far West of China in a jade mining community, on a project curated by Hou Hanru which will be presented in Beijing and internationally in 2013. Liu Xiaodong is one of the judges of the second Chinese edition of the John Moore’s Painting Prize, which will open at the Walker Art Centre, Liverpool, on 15 September 2012.