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6 Nov -  16  Dec, 2023
Children of the World 

Xiaoguo Chen





“Children of the World” is the title Chen Xiaoguo gave to his project to be realized at Gallery Func, the film of the same title, Söhne und Töchter der Welt (1941), directed by Jacob Fleck and Luise Fleck. According to Wikipedia, the Austrian director-couple is said to have emigrated to Shanghai to work with Chinese director Fei Mu. The artist liked the illusion of a loving family that the title of this unpopular film created for the exiles during wartime.

The constant state of relocation brings Chen Xiaoguo characters, events, and situations that he needs to face at every stage of art making. This year, he decided to leave Beijing, where he had suffered many studio demolitions, and moved to Shanghai. In “Children of the World”, we can find the artist's new friends, the protagonists of social news, and self-portraits with various degrees of rewriting. A series of familiar or anonymous portraits mark the moments of his gradual integration into the social life of Shanghai. The artist draws on the authorship in naming his paintings to redefine Nobel Prize winner as Silver Ball and Crazy Horse actress as Madonna, both of them have been debated by netizens. Chen Xiaoguo achieves a reversal: he intentionally paints ordinary people, including himself, as if they were celebrities, while contributors from different fields naturally reveal themselves as ordinary people in his paintings.



If being misunderstood is the norm or even a psalm, Chen Xiaoguo would rather have a self-portrait appear to be an athlete from a foreign land, a modern female figure, or a male criminal. The artist creates confusion for the viewer through easily accessible reference images and bright brushstrokes that make it difficult to approach the truth, with misleading aesthetics as well as ambiguous positions. When the subject of the painting cannot be recognized at first glance, and the act of viewing takes place somewhere else unexpectedly, we can look for something we might relate to other people's experiences.

Chen Xiaoguo was born in Hubei, China. Currently he works and lives in Shanghai. Graduated from Hubei Academy of Fine Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in Sculpture and a Master’s degree in Experimental Art at Central Academy of Fine Arts, China. Chen Xiaoguo sees painting as an action, a rumination on images nowadays. For him, the images people receive in everyday life are the collusion of media and image producers. He captures and exposes this mechanism with his paintings. With the intention of creating an atlas of human beings without borders, He selects images from the Internet and his life around. By giving the images bright and ambiguous tones, he makes the paintings visually equal to the seductive nature of the gaze.

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