arts and design

Liu Xiaodong’s portraits of the Chinese diaspora in London – in pictures

“My work is always about movement, about migration,” the Chinese figurative painter Liu Xiaodong has said. Liu, who is based in Beijing, spent nearly a month in June 2019 portraying Chinese expats in London for a series called New England, recently published in book form (Nero Editions, €20). His subjects are broadly affluent – a billionaire’s daughter, a banker, a polo player – and Liu captures them in moments of downtime, sprawled on a sofa or sweaty after a game. Signs of material success can be seen in the background, but the eyes and faces of several of the subjects – betraying uncertainty, sometimes sadness – disrupt the sense that leaving China and integrating in England has been easy. “In today’s world there are conflicts and contradictions everywhere,” Liu believes. “It’s almost an artist’s duty to narrate, to depict the conflicts in the world.”


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