Artipoeus Episode 10 – Interview | Miao Xiaochun

Microcosm, Miao Xiaochun 2008
Microcosm, Miao Xiaochun 2008

…in which your host just wants to you stand under her umbrella ella ella.


This week, Artipoeus interviews digital art pioneer Miao Xiaochun at Galerie Paris-Beijing in Paris.

[Miao Xiaochun]

The first painting I ever fell in love with is at the Art Institute of Chicago: Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street, Rainy Day.  You know the one — you’ve seen it on coffee mugs and calenders, umbrellas and tote bags: a street in 19th century Paris, the colors soft and muted in a light rain.  In the foreground, a handsome couple walks towards us — he in a top hat, she in full skirt, both looking off to the left under their shared umbrella.  The perspective moves back over wet cobblestones and around busy Parisians to a grand Hausmannian building on the corner, the road disappearing to the left and the right of it in the rose-tinted fog of Place de Dublin.

[Miao Xiaochun]

My dad asked me once what I love so much about this painting. I explained to him that I can feel the damp of the rain, can smell it on the cobblestones, hear the wet footsteps and low murmur of the people on the street.  I feel like I can walk right into this painting.

[Miao Xiaochun]

Entering a painting is every art lover’s dream.  Chinese artist Miao Xiaochun is a pioneer in his unique explorations of classic European paintings, the modern world and cyberspace.

I spoke with Miao Xiaochun at the Galerie Paris Beijing in the Marais last week, in town for his solo exhibit “Echos”, featuring a selection of his most recent work in a show that features both 3D animations as well as paintings, that pluck and test that thread of philosophy, theology and the sum of human experience that runs from the rennaissance all the way to today.

Miao Xiaochun & Susie Kahlich @ Galerie Paris-Beijing
Miao Xiaochun & Susie Kahlich @ Galerie Paris-Beijing

[Miao Xiaochun]

One of the very first to use 3D technology, Xiaochun recreates classical masterworks, often largescale recreations of paintings that are the touchstone for studies of color, light, form and perspective in Western art — Raphael’s Parnassus, for example, or Bruegel’s Fall of Rebel Angels.  He is a virtual art tourist, and has found a portal into the classical past as  a way to understand the modern world from perspectives few can ever even conceive of.

[Miao Xiaochun]

He processes the original works into videos, or transfers them into photography or paintings, meticulously replacing every figure with a cyber-ized version of an anonymous man — the exact same figure repeated in all 400 poses in Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement.

[Miao Xiaochun]

The paintings and renderings are beautiful.  His videos are sweeping, fantastical, sometimes apocalyptic statemetns of bodies and atmospheres morphing, degenerating, regenerating, duplicating and collapsing … in on themselves, into the world around them, entire virtual universes that are somehow entirely self sustained but recongizable too.

[Miao Xiaochun]

They are dreamscapes that can be heartbreaking and hilarious, that manage to cover the vast spectrum of what it means to be alive.  Most often set to sweeping symphonies and classical tracks, usually Beethoven pieces, the visual works are not so much music videos of their soundtracks but continuations of the sheer passion and drive of the music.

[Miao Xiaochun]

In Chinese astrology, 2016 is the year of the Monkey.  In Paris, 2016 is turning out to be the year of the Chinese artist.  Huang Yong Ping, considered to be the father of Chinese contemporary art, is the featured artist for this year’s Monumenta exhibit at Grand Palais; Ai Wei Wei had a massive installation at Le Bon Marche earlier this year after already being at the Louvre, and Fondation Louis Vuitton is showing a catch-all of modern Chinese artists in its group exhibition of works from its own collection.  The exhibits examine the rapid changes of the artists’ homeland as theircountry opens up more and more to the ideas of the West. Chinese artists, looking at China.

Baptism I & II, Miao Xiaochun 2013
Baptism I & II, Miao Xiaochun 2013

[Miao Xiaochun]

But if you can’t get tickets to the Grand Palais, or you don’t feel like standing in line at Fondation Louis Vuitton, you can head over the Marais, for a different perspective, and see what the West looks like from the East.

[Miao Xiaochun]

“Echo”, works by Miao Xiaochun, is on view from now until June 18 at Galerie Paris-Beijing, 62 rue de Turbigo in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris.

You can find this exhibit and more on Glarify.com, the new global mapping tool that lets you locate artist studios, openings, and exhibits around the world.  Become a part of the local art scene — wherever you go! It’s free!  Glarify is an official partner of Artipoeus.  Visit Glarify.com

From Susie Kahlich originally posted on Artipoeus

All photos by Kristijan Radakovic @ Nouvel Organon


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