Xiaoze Xie – Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

XIAOZE XIE – JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART

September 1, 2011 – December 30, 2011

In 2011, “Order” was featured in the traveling exhibition “Xiaoze Xie: Amplified Moments,” a retrospective of paintings, installations, and videos produced by the multi-talented Xie between 1993 and 2008. Currently on loan from the artist, the piece is on view in the JSMA’s Soreng Gallery of Chinese art.

Born in Guangdong in 1966, Xie is one of today’s most prominent America-based Chinese contemporary artists. As a student in his homeland in the 1980s he had intended to pursue a career in architecture but was compelled to shift to painting as a result of the violent military response to the June 4, 1989, student protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Xie left China in 1992, after completing a Master of Arts degree from Central Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing, and then in 1996, received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Texas, Denton.  He taught at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, for a number of years, before moving to Stanford University, where he is currently the Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Professor in Art.

The powerful installation piece that the JSMA hopes to acquire is comprised of a monumental hanging scroll emblazoned with a roughly brushed image documenting the destruction of books during China’s Cultural Revolution, which occurred between 1966 and 1976.  The scroll extends ten feet down the wall and then, surprisingly, two feet across the floor.  A series of large metal squares spaced in three horizontal rows impale the scroll and continue along the wall. Since most of the squares are painted fire-engine red, they suggest the little “Red Treasure Book” of quotations from Communist leader Mao Zedong, a volume cherished by many of the Red Guards who participated in acts such as that whose aftermath is pictured in the painting.

“Xie’s work deftly re-appropriates aspects of traditional Chinese art and combines them with selected Western influences and modern political subject matter to produce a thought-provoking installation that encourages viewers to meditate on the vulnerability of historical memory,” says Anne Rose Kitagawa, JSMA Chief Curator.

“We’d love to keep this work in Eugene,” says JSMA executive director Jill Hartz. “Our staff and visitors fell in love with it when it was here a few years ago, both because it’s a fantastic work of art and because it connects our past with our vision for today and tomorrow.”

For more information about this exhibit please click here.