Portraits reflect real life

Updated: 2007-04-28 15:21

A piece of painting on show by Xu Weixin.[Photo by artron.net]
An exhibition of Realist master Xu Weixin's oil paintings on contemporary Chinese workers is now on show at the Shanghai Art Museum until May 17.

Entitled "Songs of Workers: Xu Weixin Oil Paintings Exhibition", this exhibition features portraits of contemporary Chinese workers and represents the artist's interest in ordinary lives. The dominant work is "Miner Series", which is a number of portraits of real Chinese miners. Each painting is a close-up of a single miner's face, some burnt in a gas explosion, some blackened by soot and some covered by white gauze dotted with blood.

In addition, there are several paintings dedicated to Chinese migrant workers, describing how they live their lives in their tiny shacks. This exhibition also includes some of Xu's early oil paintings, such as "Holy Land Lhasa", "Acid Rain", "Naan House" and "Market".

The realist master started his artistic career when he was a boy, drawing the faces of Chinese government leaders in chalk. After spending a number of years sketching many Chinese minority ethnic groups, he started working on his "Portraits of Contemporary People Series", which the Miner Series is part of.

Throughout his artistic career, Xu has stayed with the realist style, by carrying on the tradition of academic realistic painting techniques and incorporating some elements of modern painting. In this way, he creates vivid portraits that are lifelike. Xu is currently a professor at Xu Beihong School of Arts.

Painting of laborers on Labor's Day
Date/Time: Shanghai Art Museum, No.325 Nanjing Xilu
Duration: until May 17
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