Hardback144 PagesSize: 280 × 240 mm
114 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781848224162Publication: September 01, 2021
Series: Contemporary Painters Series

'Some time ago I asserted that Liu Xiaodong's way of painting is "Dirty Realism". Today, the world has become even dirtier, and it needs to be faced in a "dirtier way"! John Yau's book recommends us to look at and research his work more comprehensively. This is not only to remind us that painting (as a way to "intervene in reality") can remain a significant way to continue to live. It also helps us, through exploring Xiaodong's particular and "dirty" way of "intervening in reality" ("to mingle with the dirty world but not to be made dirty by it"), confront this dirty world bravely but also peacefully.'
Hou Hanru   Artistic Director, Maxxi, Rome

Liu Xiaodong

John Yau


  • A truly global artist who has depicted scenes from his native China to Europe, South Africa, Tibet, Israel, Egypt and beyond.
  • Explores Xiaodong's development as an artist in the context of China's history beyond the Cultural Revolution. 

The remarkable plein air paintings of Liu Xiaodong (b.1963), which chronicle everyday lives within our diverse modern world, are the focus of this first monograph of his career to date.

Immersing himself in communities around the globe, Xiaodong seeks to present people who often sit on the fringes of society who find themselves marginalised within a contemporary world striving for homogenisation. At first glance a traditional realist painter, closer examination reveals an artist exploring a range of media while interrogating the opportunities presented by modern technology. The result is an outstanding body of work, often monumental in scale, that examines, reconsiders, and extends observational painting in fresh directions, while bringing into question the lines between fact and fiction, the traditional and the contemporary, to create a wholly original vision.

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