Old Friends

Xia Xiaowan and his studio assistant discuss progress on glass paintings of Song dynasty landscapes.

I spent a day with Xia Xiaowan, with good conversation time while stuck in traffic on Sixth Ring Road, trying to get to his studio in Songzhuang. An excerpt of that conversation is here. His 3-D glass paintings have caught the art world’s attention. He struggles with juggling the external demands on his time, while pursuing the experiments and explorations of form that are his passion in art. He has been very thoughtful about the cultural icons that have inspired people around the world, and he is interested in creating new forms beyond Eastern and Western ideals.

Below are some of the glass paintings that were in his studio.

Into the Fog

Beijing fog

Dongsi Shitiao on an October afternoon, 2014

My first two days in Beijing have been mostly indoors, hiding out from the thick air outside. Yesterday I went to see Xia Xiaowan’s exhibit at the Galerie Urs Miele and had a chance to talk to him about his work.

Stunning, imaginative, and thought-provoking. He has a sketch for a public sculpture that would be a slab of glass tilted into the pavement, in which he would paint 3D goldfish into the glass layers, and then the portion tipped into the pavement would be dipped in a pool with real goldfish swimming around. Wish I could commission that work to be made!

Theme of subway conversations overheard: housing prices.