Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Liu Xiaodong's "Hometown Boy" and other notable art exhibitions

I try to make my way to 798 and Caochangdi every other month, but few of my visits have resulted in as positive an experience as I got yesterday after seeing the following exhibitions:

First, plenty has already been written about Liu's exhibition -- at the behest of UCCA, he returns home to Jincheng, Liaoning province after a lengthy time away (during which he gained international fame) to paint pictures of his old friends -- so I'll only add a few words about the accompanying hour-long documentary of his trip, made by Hou Hsiao-Hsien: it's spectacular. Everyone should take some time to watch it. The accompanying Vivaldi soundtrack makes it all the more mesmerizing. Through the film, you really see an intimate, rare glimpse of Chinese life. I would say impoverished Chinese life, but that both seems redundant and unnecessary; redundant because most people in Jincheng live, for the most part, in poverty, and unnecessary because that's beside the point. The story's not about how people live, it's that they do. It's a truly original and eye-opening and deeply moving -- though completely unsentimental -- portrait of an artist and his city.


I was absolutely taken aback by how good Song's exhibition was, and the amazing thing about it is the artist belongs to the "post-80s generation," which I believe qualifies her work under the banner "genius."

She tackles the theme of anxiety and melancholy, yet the craftsmanship of her work is so good that what you really only feel is admiration. See below:

As for Chen's "Ink History"... here it is:

Here are some miscellaneous pictures. The first is from UCCA, the others from Pekin:

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