In cooperation with the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is presenting the world’s first retrospective by the Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong. The double exhibition titled “Slow Homecoming” features paintings as well as photographs and films by the artist, one of the most famous representatives of contemporary art in China.
In his oeuvre, Liu Xiaodong shows moments and stories from human life as well as situations and landscapes with an outstanding immediacy and extraordinary empathy. A family, a refugee boat, farm laborers, or the red light district—his subjects are varied, and the casual brushstrokes and intense colors lend them a great liveliness and captivating realism. As an artist he is committed to the unrestricted variety of cultures and the diversity of subjectivity, which has occasionally led him to come into conflict with the system.
Liu Xiaodong only depicts what he sees with his own eyes, smells with his own nose, and hears with his own ears. At the beginning of each work, he spends time with the subjects in their daily lives before portraying them. This participatory dimension of his artistic practice, which has taken him to Tibet, Thailand, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, Cuba, Iceland, Nepal, and Greenland, and soon also Berlin, is accompanied by journal notes and photographs. In addition, alongside his projects, he creates films that approach the various topics from the perspective of the moving image.
The artist encounters the stranger with the utmost openness, so as not to succumb to the deception of clichés or preformed opinions. He is a painter of modern life who addresses the question of the human condition as well as global issues that are directly linked to it such as demographic shifts, environmental crisis, and economic upheaval.
The retrospective double exhibition “Slow Homecoming” aims to present the enormous complexity of Liu Xiaodong’s work. The Kunsthalle Düsseldorf will offer an overview of his painting, and the NRW Forum will focus primarily on his photography.
The exhibition is curated by Heinz-Norbert Jocks in cooperation with Alain Bieber and Gregor Jansen.