Art Basel HK | LIU Xiaodong

For Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, ESLITE GALLERY is pleased to present a booth dedicated to China’s foremost contemporary artist LIU Xiaodong, featuring nearly 30 canvas works, watercolors, print series and works on paper made over the last decade. One highlight are the new canvas works that Liu painted specifically for this occasion. These works drew inspiration from the basic necessities of life as testimonial to the artist’s fondness for life’s simple blessings. Alongside the delightful paintings are Liu’s larger works imbued with social implications from previous projects.

  • Exhibition Period:29 March – 31 March 2019
  • Address:Art Basel Hong Kong, ESLITE GALLERY booth 1D12

For Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, ESLITE GALLERY is pleased to present a booth dedicated to China’s foremost contemporary artist LIU Xiaodong, featuring nearly 30 canvas works, watercolors, print series and works on paper made over the last decade. One highlight are the new canvas works that Liu painted specifically for this occasion. These works drew inspiration from the basic necessities of life as testimonial to the artist’s fondness for life’s simple blessings. Alongside the delightful paintings are Liu’s larger works imbued with social implications from previous projects.

The new works are a painting series of vegetables, fruits and sustenance that pertain to our daily existence. The late Chinese poet Haizi’s moving poem vowed, “From tomorrow on, I will appreciate my food and greens; My house faces the vast ocean, where spring is warm and flowers bloom.” In resonance, Liu’s works convey the same ideal of counting our blessings and reducing worldly wants to a bare minimum, because in doing so, life shall be free of tether.

Previous works from the “Hometown Boy” series that document landscapes and people in his hometown Jincheng; and others that reveal his observation of different places, such as a large-scale painting of wealthy Chinese ladies in Indonesia and watercolors that vividly captured the South African wildlife, will be shown alongside the new works. By bringing together works of varied subjects and forms, the core of Liu Xiaodong’s art unfolds, from the essence of simple things then gradually expands to the rumination of social meanings.

Liu Xiaodong

LIU Xiaodong was born in 1963 in Jincheng, a town in the Liaoning Province in China. He moved in 1978 to Beijing and later graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

As other artists of his generation turn away from more traditional forms of painting, LIU continues to capture the realism of life and his technique has matured into “slack expressionism” where a sense of immediacy and familiarity permeates throughout his paintings, further accentuated by his disinterested interpretation of the subject matter; this familiarity becomes the basis of a dialogue between artist and viewer.

The affection he has for people is the starting point of his work, which gradually spreads into the field of social implication. The life of man and their body, the texture of air and objects are the few vital points of LIU’s work.

He is on the constant search of the subtle gap that separates painting and other artistic forms, and he has found his answer in the sentimental demand of painting as a craftsmanship. LIU values painting as a movement. He says “the process of painting brings surely a body language, and this is what makes painting irreplaceable. It is coagulation rather than instantaneity that is at the core of painting.”

Rather than some specific brush technique, it is the social environment and situations that make up the “Realistic” core of Liu’s works. This realism is moving away from the social realism of the past- a movement that despite its name relied on an artificial setting of themes. LIU refrains from placing his models within his own subjective nostalgia; instead he locates them firmly in the breathless and ever-changing transformation of Chinese society.