China, b. 1963
Comprised of five panels, approximately ten metres total in length, Xiaodong’s Hot Bed I (2005), which combines photorealism, cinematic framing, and storytelling, is a large-scale painting created en plein air over approximately four weeks. It is a response to the building of the Three Gorges Dam, which was constructed on the Yangtze River in China in the mid-’90s. It is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world and when it was built more than one million people were displaced and many towns and villages were flooded. Within Hot Bed I, a temporal development and narrative unfolds, similar to ancient Chinese scroll paintings that often depict landscapes or scenes from daily life or literary or historic narratives. In the city of Fengjie, Liu painted eleven peasant labourers sitting on old mattresses on a roof top, relaxing together in the warm sun. The artist makes visible the plight of people whose lives have been changed by the state’s attempt to resolve issues relating to water and power. Exhibited at EVA was the documentation of the making of what is considered Liu’s masterpiece — a seminal work in Chinese art history of the ﬁrst decade of the twenty-ﬁrst century.
Liu Xiaodong is a ﬁgurative painter of everyday life, and a leading artist among the Chinese neorealist painters who emerged in the 1990s. Recent solo exhibitions include: Painting as Shooting, Faurschou Foundation, Copenhagen,(2016); Diary of an Empty Cityyy, Faurschou Foundation, Beijing (2015); and Liu Xiaodong’s Two Projects, Shao Zhong Foundation Art Museum, Guangzhou (2014). His work has been exhibited in many group shows including: Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2018); Art and China Aft errr 1989: Theater of the World, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017); and the 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014).
(Text: 38th EVA International catalogue)
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