Regarded as one of China’s most respected artists, Liu Xiaodong has worked alongside Jia Zhang-ke and Zhang Yimou and considers auteurs Yao Hung-I and Hou Hsiao-hsien amongst his old friends. Following his journey to his hometown of Jincheng, in Liaoning Province, to paint portraits of his childhood friends in their everyday environment, Liu pronounced, “time is the greatest art of all”. Indeed, when faced with the familiar yet disappearing landscape of his childhood memories–rolling green hills; winding rivers and dusty roads; luminous train rides; humble, quotidian work brings the artist to confront a complex and contradictory range of emotions and revelations. Not only have economic development and the passage of time changed the landscape of his rural home, but the faces of the people he grew up with.
With vivid images and studied composition, the brilliant cinematography is as painterly as Liu’s paintings are cinematic, situating the artist and his own artisitic process within each frame. Through the artist’s humourous diary entries and personal illustrations, Hometown Boy offers lyrical vignettes of a deeply rich and complex visual and oral art history.