IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS THE SAATCHI GALLERY PRESENTED 15 OF THE 20 MOST VISITED MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS IN LONDON
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Shi Xinning EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

Yalta No.2
Shi Xinning
Yalta No.2

2006

Oil on canvas

210 x 317 cm
Trained in China, Shi Xinning’s paintings are influenced by both social realism and European styles. Using the authoritative qualities of both, Shi embarks on history painting with a twist. Taking his imagery from iconic press photos, Shi’s canvases faithfully represent the world as we know it: the Yalta Conference in familiar 40s sepia tone, the Queen Mum in carriage emblazoned in newspaper black and white. It’s only on second glance that Shi’s alterations become evident. Nestled between Churchill and FDR and conversing happily with royalty, Mao takes his place amongst the great leaders of the 20th century.

In China-fying history, Shi investigates dynamics of both the west’s Eurocentric, and China’s isolationist past world views. Humorously illustrating the Chairman’s import and omnipresence in 20th c Chinese society Shi’s insertion of Mao into the fabric of western collective conscience seems entirely plausible. Infusing the totems of propaganda currency with a sense of normality and humility, Shi re-authors the most cherished moments of collective memory with a ‘Forrest Gump’ effect, creating a specious mythology based in Hollywood schmaltz and unabashed optimism.
Royal Coach
Shi Xinning
Royal Coach

2006

Oil on canvas

210 x 317 cm
A Holiday in Venice  - At the Balcony of Ms. Guggenheim
Shi Xinning
A Holiday in Venice - At the Balcony of Ms. Guggenheim

2006

Oil on canvas

210 x 272 cm
Xinning’s alternative Mao biography operates as a free-for-all send up of official versions of history; his subjects are carefully chosen for their collision course narratives and gossipy innuendo. Beneath Xinning’s paintings lies the intriguing proposition: how differently things might have turned out if only a little thing like ideology didn’t get in the way. In A Holiday in Venice – At the Balcony of Ms. Guggenheim, a Cheshire-ish Chairman lounges linen-clad and carefree, having possibly met his match in the famous art collector; he an aspiring poet and calligrapher, she a respected patron, both figures notorious for their libidinous antics…
Mao and McCarthy
Shi Xinning
Mao and McCarthy

2005

Oil on canvas

192 x 313 cm
In Mao and McCarthy, Xinning’s feigned documentation makes hilarious political commentary. Painted on grand-scale, as if blown up from the pages of Life magazine, the scene unfolds like an expose of over-looked evidence pointing out a most embarrassing gaff: all cameras and eyes on the accused, no one seems to recognise the real communists in the room (though who better to sit on the House Committee on Un-American Activities?) Xinning recreates this lost moment with the veritas of mass media authority, his high contrast palette and inky brushwork replicating the tones and texture of cold war journalism with all its greasy smudgy truth.

Shi Xinning's BIOGRAPHY

Shi Xinning
1969
Born in Liaoning Province, China

Lives and works in Beijing


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2001
Fake Reality, Beijing, China


GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2005
The Road Map of Painting, Beijing, China
The Other Shore of This Shore, Pingyao, China
Mahjong, Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland
China Contemporary Painting, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna, Bologna, Italy

2004
Landscapes, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
New Perspectives in Chinese Painting, Marella Art Gallery, Milan, Italy
China’s Photographic Painting, China Art Seasons Gallery, Beijing, China

2003
Moyemode, Moyemobude, 798 Art Zone, Beijing, China
China Art Now, Marella Art Gallery, Milan, Italy

2002
Contemporary Art Exhibition, Deduct Fabricate Copy, Beijing, China

1999
Contemporary Art Show "Out-of-control", Beijing, China

1998
Contemporary Art Exhibition, "In the City- Individuality", Beijing, China