Liu Xiaodong observes the people of the poorer classes. As ugly as the characters of Otto Dix, they illustrate the same message about the futility of their life.
Liu works from his own photographs or sketch drawings. In 1996, he saw two trucks, one carrying emigrant workers, the other leading pigs to the slaughterhouse. In both cases, the individual is contained in a small space and resolutely ignores his or its fate.
Titled Disobeying the rules, the oil on canvas 180 x 230 cm painted in 1996 is for sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 5, lot 1046.
On the platform of the truck, 17 migrants of all ages are naked. They smile stupidly without taking attention to the gas cylinders, in an involuntarily remake of the Wages of fear. The title is contemptuous : in their China that becomes wealthy, the individuality of the poor is no more than a trivial nothingness.
Later, Liu will also show the gloomy atmosphere of sexually engaged people such as transsexuals and prostitutes, accentuating the similarity of his artistic approach with the German expressionist including Beckmann.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's, showing the extraordinary speed of the brush of the artist: