Eli Klein Fine Art is proud to present the first solo exhibition in the United States of Xiao Se, a talented and unique new force in Chinese contemporary art.
Xiao Se’s technically masterful paintings draw on imagery from both the Eastern and Western artistic tradition. This exhibition showcases a body of work which presents Xiao Se’s observations of present day China in which traditional heritage, a communist past, and modernity coexist. His work is deeply influenced by Western masters, often imbuing Western or religious figures with Chinese characteristics, or surrounding them by typical Chinese scenes and traditional symbols.
While Political Pop and Cynical Realism remain the best-known contemporary Chinese art styles in the West, many of the works of influential painters who have emerged since the mid 1990s do not conform to a particular movement or style. These artists, as compared with their predecessors, are not as concerned about the Cultural Revolution or personal self-analysis, they focus on the present-day realities of a rapidly shifting society. Xiao Se is one such artist who grew up in the tumultuous aftermath of the Cultural Revolution and has lived through an era of sweeping economic and cultural liberalization initiated by China’s Open Door Policy. His paintings reflect this background and provide a means and space through which he makes sense of the tension between tradition and modernization.
His body of work presents a diverse array of artistic influences and motifs, including Northern Renaissance, Chinese quotidian themes, and Surrealism. Notable in his paintings are bizarre objects including scrambling nudes, flying fish, pairs of eyes, apples made of gears, and boxes. The presence of the absurd as well as an overall mocking tone provides more than just amusing escapism and allows a temporary hiatus from reality within the pictorial space. He is able to laugh at the world through his paintings, and his humor allows a victory of amusement over daily fears and anxieties.
Xiao Se was born in Beijing and graduated from Central Academy of Art and Design. The exhibition will be on view at Eli Klein Fine Art from November 18 through December 10, 2009. The artist will be present at the private reception on November 18th.