Beijing based Tian Xiaolei creates surreal animated videos and images that engage with the history of Chinese art and the rapidly evolving social, economic, and political realities of contemporary China.
This new exhibition opening at the Meulensteen in New York features Song of Joy, an ambitious computer-animated film through which Tian explores the relationship between pretended joy and real pain, and addresses hidden truths regarding the era of consumption and desire. The ironic celebration of the new China features hundreds of identically outfitted businessmen frolicing in a chaotic amusement park and participating in choreographed dances and marches to the tune of Mozart's Requiem.
Also on view is Tian’s print series Chinese Contemporary Paintings. Employing digital techniques to reinterpret the conventions of Chinese traditional landscape painting, Tian creates dramatic topographies that become dwarfed by fantastic animal figures. Exhibition on view through February 18th.
In the artist’s own words: "I used to be more inclined to accept the conception of Daoism, which praises highly the integration of nature and human. With the fast development of technology, we are now experiencing a transition from being in awe of Mother Nature to conquering and changing it. This seems to be a sign of the great progress of human civilization, but behind that progress there is a breaking down of something about which most of us cannot become aware. Our inherent spiritualism and our integrated relationship with nature are degenerating as technology is making progress faster and faster. "