Liu Xiaodong (b.1963) is considered the leading "New Generation" figurative painter of contemporary Chinese Realism and one of China's foremost artists. His large-scale oil paintings are rich in colour, spontaneous, and known for their expressive painterly style characterised by strong brush strokes. In contrast, the content of Liu’s work is often described as seductively simple, domestic and charmingly quiet: he depicts field workers, social gatherings, simple relationships, social change or landscapes, always with an incredible sensitivity towards the relationship between individual and a particular place and time. Liu: "My only goal is to to confront people and see them as they really are".
According to the artist, he decided to depict the world and people around him faithfully and honestly after the Tian’anmen Square uprising in 1989. And a documentary flair is certainly noticeable when considering Lui’s work: sketches, text and sometimes film chronicle develop every painting: notes about location, daily encounters and experiences while on site, Liu's feelings, thoughts, the conversations he is having with sitters and people surrounding him while at work. He not only captures what he sees, but the full range of human emotion: love, hope, ambition and satisfaction - but also confusion, longing and despair. In the words of art historian Jeff Kelly: "Liu’s art lies in creating zones of artifice not in the studio, but in the middle of real life."
Liu Xiaodong completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in oil painting in 1988 and his Master of Fine Arts in oil painting in 1995, both at the prestigious Central Institute of Fine Arts, Beijing, where he now teaches. In 1998-1999, he spent a further year of study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Spain.
Since his first solo show Liu Xiao Dong at the Central Institute of Fine Arts, Beijing, in 1990, Liu has had numerous exhibitions all over the world; most recently Liu Xiaodong: Half Street, Lisson Gallery, London, 2013; and to name but a few others: Liu Xiaodong: The Process of Painting, Gunsthaus Graz, 2012; Paintings of Yan' Guan, Art Basel Miami, Miami; Liu Xiaodong: Hometown Boy, Ucca, Beijing, 2010; Liu Xiaodong: Yan’GuanTown, Mary Boone Gallery, New York, 2010; Qinghai-Tibet Plateau & Beijing Girls - New Paintings by Liu Xiaodong Mary Boone Gallery, New York, 2008; Liu Xiaodong 1984-2006, Time Zone 8, Beijing, 2006; The Three Gorges Project---Painting by Liu Xiaodong, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006; Childhood friend getting fat LOFT Gallery, Paris, 2005; and Liu Xiao Dong, Art Center of Donghai University, Taiwan, 2002.
The artist's work can be seen in public art collections including: Museum of Fine Art, Boston, USA; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; Shanghai Art Museum, China; Art Museum of the Central Institute of Fine Arts, China; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA; China Art Gallery, China; Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation, Switzerland; and the Fukuoka Gallery, Japan.
Liu Xiaodong lives and works in Beijing.