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Liu Xiaodong: Chittagong

“I like those places that ask intriguing questions and give no clear answers,” states Liu Xiaodong in the introductory phrases to the catalogue for his 2015 three-chapter exhibition Painting as Shooting, declaring that “predictable and overly planned things are uninteresting.” Often described as a painter director, he has traveled the world observing difficult aspects of the human condition, finding common threads linking experiences in contexts as diverse as rural China, border conflicted Israel/Palestine, refugee laden Europe, and most recently, the “metal graves” of Bangladesh, a land of paradoxes. The artist chronicles his observations from a distance in daily diary entries, sketching and photographing scenes from reality and arranging them into a storyboard. He sets up scenes to paint on site, but also if needed, he turns his studio into a space for “post-production” when life’s special effects become overwhelming. The artist transforms the inhabitants of the place he observes into lead characters of his silent film of a painting, rather than placing them in their usual roles as background noise in the saga that is life. – Diana Campbell Betancourt

Texts by Diana Campbell Betancourt and Peter Doroshenko

 

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