The first major U.S. exhibition of the accomplished Chinese artist Xu Weixin (b. 1958), Xu Weixin: Monumental Portraits will focus on two of his acclaimed, large-size portrait series: Miner Portraits and Chinese Historical Figures: 1966–1976. The subjects in Miner Portraits are coal miners working in harsh conditions in contemporary China. Chinese Historical Figures: 1966–1976 depicts people who lived—known and unknown, and some of whom eventually perished—during the turbulent time of the Cultural Revolution. By portraying these individuals with monumentality and poignant realism, Xu Weixin brings our focus to their lives and ordeals, inviting an emotional connection. Reflecting the artist’s deep interest in the human condition, these single-person portraits challenge our expectations and compel us to see beyond official narratives of historical events and social conditions. Xu Weixin is currently a professor of painting and the former executive dean of the School of Arts, Renmin University, Beijing.
Lead support for the exhibition Xu Weixin: Monumental Portraits is provided by the University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Office of the President, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional generous support is provided by the University of Michigan Confucius Institute, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, Beijing Fu Zhan Zhou Culture Art Development Co. Ltd, Boylescott Limited, and University of Michigan Ross School of Business China Initiatives.