London-based Lisson Gallery present this compelling segment from a new film from director Yang Bo, profiling Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong—the Beijing-based artist whose large-scale works have been likened to a kind of history painting for the emerging world. Liu was among the generation of Chinese Neo-Realist painters who came to the fore during the 1990s, where his use of figurative painting—executed in loose, casual brushstrokes—seeks to depict people ‘as they really are,’ while creating a memorable image of their personality and charisma.
In this segment of the wider film, we are introduced to Sasha, a transgender sitter wearing skin-colored tights, whose portrait will be presented at the Lisson Gallery booth during frieze, London. The conversation with Sasha leads to an intimate exploration of figuration, identity, and the artistic process, accompanied by an up-close study of Liu’s creative process as he works his gentle, intuitive strokes onto an expansive canvas. The painting is part of a wider series which explores transgender and gay subjects in Berlin, lending the film its title.
While Liu Xiaodong lives and works in Beijing, he has undertaken projects in Tibet, Japan, Italy, the UK, Cuba and Austria, and closer to home, in Jincheng, in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, China, where he was born in 1963.