Press release – May 2016
Liu Xiaodong: Painting as Shooting at Faurschou Copenhagen
Painting as Shooting is conceived as an exhibition in three chapters, curated by Jérôme Sans and produced by Faurschou, in Venice, Beijing and Copenhagen. The third and final chapter will be on view at Faurschou Copenhagen from May 26 through December 16, 2016.
The first step, which took place at the Cini Foundation for the 56th Venice Biennale, was the first major European institutional exhibition to fully explore Liu Xiaodong’s uniquepractice, as one of China’s most influential painters of the last two decades. The second, presented by Faurschou in its Beijing space, presented the most recent series of works created by the artist during his stay in Ordos in Inner Mongolia. The last chapter, mixing the first two shows, represents the most updated survey on Liu Xiaodong’s work.
The exhibition, Painting as Shooting, focuses on a unique selection of some of the artist’s most important projects from the last decade. They deal with major global, sociological, cultural, economic, ecological and environmental issues from the past ten years. It is not meant as a retrospective exhibition, but rather as a journey through images of the various worlds and situations he has witnessed all over the world, in locations such as China, Asia, Cuba, Europe, Israel, etc.
Most recently Liu Xiaodong reactivated the issue on human migration, which appeared in his earlier "Hot Bed" series. Previously he portrayed migrants within Asia, both in his homeland China and in Thailand. Today Liu focuses on the largest migration and humanitarian problem since World War II: communities taking the most dangerous trip acrossthe Mediterranean Sea and the most hazardous routes into Europe to escape the wars in the Middle East and Africa, hoping to find a better future in Europe. This issue will not only impact Europe, but the rest of the world.
Liu Xiaodong is a painter of everyday life. His images are of family and friends set against modest scenery capturing ordinary moments, such as eating, laughing or playing games. However, in-depth exploration of what is hidden behindthe small stories that populate the surface of his work reveals a much bigger picture. Xiaodong’s paintings are pointing with simple gestures to the reality of the periphery, the margins and the paradoxes of our contemporary society. It is the reality that no one dares to speak about; the tough reality of daily existence that reaches out to us from displaced communities—from migrant workers, victims of ecological and natural disasters and sex workers to the new homeless—all sharing the dream of a better life.
Liu Xiaodong approaches his work with the eyes and the storyboard practice of a filmmaker. Each of the artist’s major works begins with a simple idea from one of his daily diary entries, describing the events he has witnessed, photos he has taken or people he has met, and then transforms them into live characters on his canvas. In a way the artist’spaintings resemble a production set where he acts as a director who collaborates with actors to play, record or recreate a situation, various impressions or the eﬀects thereof. It is hereby that Liu Xioadong embodies the concept of "painting as shooting."