Liu Xiaodong

Fat Grandson . 1996


Liu Xiaodong is regarded as one of China’s finest painters. His canvases are known for having rich colors, strong brush strokes, unusual framing (including cut off heads and limbs) and near perfect technique. Many of his portraits are drawn from snapshots of friends or family members, doing ordinary things, like eating, laughing or playing games. An early, defining moment for Liu was when he was given a picture of a Lucien Freud painting. Intrigued by Freud's ability to capture a person's inner power, Liu decided to concentrate on figurative painting. In 1993, he and his wife, also a painter, played themselves in a friend's "neo-realist" film, and Liu was attracted to neo-realism's focus on common people rather than on metaphysical shapes and ideas. In later years, Liu has put aside his earlier emphasis on meticulously chosen scenery and composition with careful brushwork, and instead he began to try to paint more boldly and spontaneously.

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