Liu Xiaodong and his team came to Xinjiang on 22 June 2012 and commenced the two-month Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project documenting the life of jade miners in the region known for reserve of the precious stone.
Liu carried on with his unique way of live painting established while producing the Three Gorges Series (2004 – 2005). He set up a temporary studio in his tent to accomplish this elongated project with sketches, diaries, oil painting and photography. A camera team was also present to document the entire progress with a film.
In order to complete the project, Hou Hanru, chief curator of the project launched a complex series of programmes parallel to the painting. It includes on-site research, historical research, tournament exhibitions, film viewing, seminars and on-line publications. Co-curator Ou Ning led a group of researchers and journalists to complete research programmes on free expression, which involved local writers, historians, musicians, craftsmen and so on, in the aim of revealing the reality through public opinions on various issues in local life.
The first exhibition of Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project was held in August 2012 at Xinjiang International Exhibition Center, presenting East, South, West and North, four new works produced in Xinjiang and Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project, a documentary film produced by A Cheng and directed by Yang Bo. The second exhibition of the touring Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project is to open on 12 January 2013 at Today Art Museum. Besides the four new works from Xinjiang and the documentary film, more of his latest works accomplished in Beijing as well as rare scripts, diaries and other materials will be on display. A seminar under the theme ‘In Central Asia: History and Reality’ is to be held on 13 January 2013, expanding the vision from Xinjiang to the entire Central Asia. This open-to-public seminar, featuring experts and scholars from China and abroad, will look at the
academic issues brought about by Liu Xiaodong’s Hotan Project from broader geographical perspective and cultural backgrounds. A catalogue of works and projects by Liu Xiaodong is also to be published before the exhibition closes on 23 February 2013.
This is an endeavor to explore and reveal the diversified and complex social and cultural landscape of Xinjiang through integration into the life of local folks. The humanitarian standpoint of the project is of clear opposition to that of the exoticism. It set up an example on the seek for reasons and realistic meanings for the proceeding of contemporary art and cultural researches in such a changing modern reality as it is.