Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to announce the solo show of Miao Xiaochun, unanimously considered as the pioneer of digital art in China.
Echo reveals his most recent body of works, a stunning combination of paintings and 3D animations exploring the interfaces between the real and the virtual, the human and the digital, culture and technology.
Professor in the Department of Photography and Digital Media at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, Miao Xiaochun has been relentlessly creating and building virtual universes, unlimited in size, perspective and imagination over the past 20 years. Populated by strange cybernetic beings, with no clothes, character or expression, these worlds combine the canons of European classical art history with highly technological and futuristic urban settings.
Restart, a 3D animation created between 2008 and 2010, succeed in combining in less than a 14-minutes video the most diverse objects with numberless references to art history, architecture, and design. Raphael’s frescoes Parnassus and The School of Athens come after the macabre scenario of Pieter Bruegel paintings (The Triumph of Death, Fall of Rebel Angels, Mad Meg). Despite their digital reconstruction and reinterpretation, all the original masterpieces are clearly recognizable. The work, which is terribly attractive and unsettling, evokes the unsolved myth of Eros and Thanatos and raises the question of discontent in an ultra-developed civilization, where technology troubles human drives and desires. Kind of fleshless avatars, the human figures in Restart are reduced to their mathematic essence, but seem to keep an emotional and atavistic connection to the perceptible world.
In a similar atmosphere, the work Disillusion (2009-2011) depicts sacred imagery from Noah’s Ark to the Pieta and including The Last Judgement. In combining the sublime awe of religious painting with malevolent science fiction theme, Miao Xiaochun develops his transfigured art world, dealing with our conception of religious works in the context of an apocalyptic vision of our existence in the future.
In his videos Limitless (2011-2012) and Samsara (2014) Miao Xiaochun explores the Genesis and the endless cycle of life, always mixing history, culture, technology and images of a visionary world.
The exhibition associates Miao Xiaochun’s animations to his large size paintings, echoing the same subjects and aesthetics. Defined as “algorithmic paintings” by critic and curator Wang Chunchen, they show virtual images that the artist obtains thanks to a particular practice exploiting the dysfunction of a 3D software.
The large-scale nine-panel installation Microcosm (2008) is emblematic of the artist’s approaches and topics. In this work, Miao Xiaochun forces classic painting and new media art to a mutual reflection in order to reinvent Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Microcosm develops the Bosch’s triptych in 9 panels corresponding to as many views of the original work in its three-dimensional transposition. The relationship between six side wings and three front panels means the viewer can view Hell from Heaven, and can also see Heaven from Hell and Earth. The spectator is encouraged to physically move about the work and discover the point of view of a naked and anonymous man, infinitely and identically replicated in this cybernetic version of world’s allegories.
Miao Xiaochun was born in 1964 in Wuxi, China. He has graduated from Nanjing University, the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing and Kunsthochschule Kassel, Germany. He currently lives and works in Beijing, where he is Professor in the Department of Photography and Digital Media at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). His work has been extensively exhibited worldwide over the last 20 years, including Beijing 798 (China), Venice Biennale (Italy), Ludwig Museum (Germany), the Asian House in Madrid (Spain), the Walsh gallery in Chicago (USA), the Saatchi gallery and the Red Mansion Foundation in London (UK).