Liu Xiaodong: Painting From Life
Text by Ai Weiwei, Pi Li.
This volume is the most comprehensive look at Beijing-based painter Liu Xiaodong, who was born in 1963, to date. Articles, interviews and essays are accompanied by high quality, fold-out reproductions of his most significant pieces in this beautifully-designed volume. As the title suggests, Liu paints from life--drawing from the rich history of the practice in Chinese art. Eschewing any sense of romanticism about his subjects, Liu approaches his fusion of landscape painting and portraiture pragmatically. "Eighteen Soldiers Between Mainland and Taiwan" (2004), for example, is a horizontal painting segmented into eight sections, each of which contains a full-body portrait of a soldier staring impassively at the viewer or into the distance; each stands against a different background: a horizon of sea and sky, tanks and bunkers, trees and barbed wire. Included are texts by artist Ai Weiwei and curator Pi Li.