Adoption by a major Western gallery puts Liu Xiaodong into a small group of significant Chinese artists represented internationally.
In June 2012, Lisson Gallery announced that they will represent Chinese neo-realist painter Liu Xiaodong. Liu joins acclaimed artist-dissident Ai Weiwei at the space, who has been represented by the gallery since 2010.
Liu differs from other contemporary artists represented by Western galleries in that his painting style is less conceptual, derived largely from realist traditions. As reported by ArtDaily,
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, born in 1963 in northern China, paints in a style that lies in between expressive neo-realism and glossy cynical realism. His works depict Chinese people and society with an unpolished directness. He is also known for his large-scale works of carefully arranged dramatic compositions.
With the new representation from Lisson Gallery, Liu Xiaodong joins the ranks of a few high-profile Chinese artists that have been picked up by major Western galleries over the past few years. Ai Weiwei was picked up by Lisson in late 2010, making Liu the second Chinese artist for the gallery. Gagosian began representing Zeng Fanzhi in 2011, while White Cube staged its first exhibition of work by groundbreaking performance artist Zhang Huan‘s work in 2009.
- Emerging replaces established: Chinese artists at 2012 Biennale of Sydney – July 2012 – while some older artists enter the “canon”, emerging artists get more room for major exhibitions
- Uli Sigg donates “most comprehensive” Chinese contemporary art collection to M+ – June 2012 – one of the earlier generation of Chinese artists, Liu Xiaodong is likely among the artists collected by Sigg
- New uses for Chinese ink: Jennifer Wen Ma paints hanging garden in Beijing – May 2012 – some artists plumb China’s Socialist Realist tradition, while others look further back for inspiration
- Undiscovered Chinese photographers profiled in 88books’ hand-bound zines – resource alert – May 2012 – a younger generation of Chinese artists turns to new media art like photography
- Thoughts can be art! Chinese artist-curator duo Liu Ding, Carol Yinghua Lu interview – August 2011 – many Chinese contemporary artists lean towards the conceptual, as discussed in this interview
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