Liu Xiaodong’s film Blinking was created from ten video segments from a documentary about his painting excursions over recent years. The artist is famous for meticulously documenting his creative working process: sketchbooks, journals and video footage of his travels, location scouting and interviews compile a large archive of material that records and simultaneously inspires each making of a work.
The snapshots that compose the film - the “blinks” - are like clues. We recognise scenery that became background of some of Liu Xiaodong’s compositions; we recognise sitters - like the girl riding and crashing a bicycle, who we know from Getting Out of Beichuan. In other cases, we see footage of exactly the image that we know as a painting: the men in a boat on a lake from Entering Tai Lake. In some of the clips, we can see the artist himself: staring out at sea getting splashed by a wave; and most notably at the end of the film, where Liu Xiaodong sits down together with an old man.
Blinking is a must-have work for any admirer or collector of Liu Xiaodong’s art because it is the ultimate key to his paintings: the film is a visual summary and explanation of the artist’s mind - of the exceptional working process that underlies his paintings. And it is a blink into the artist’s soul. Liu Xiaodong: “In the blink of an eye, everything can change. Sometimes we blink to confront something anew, sometimes to avoid something, sometimes to implant it into our hearts. Blinking can also rearrange things in our field of vision, that that is merely a subjective fabrication.”