Paintings from Liu Xiaodong’s new ‘Uummannaq’ series on view at the Louisiana Museum
Liu Xiaodong's painting machine: Weight of Insomnia
Since 2015, Liu has been working on this series, collectively entitled ‘Weight of Insomnia’ to create 21st-century landscape paintings using robotic arms and surveillance cameras. Taking a live feed, streaming data and imagery from iconic international locations, Liu has created a painting machine to process these rolling image feeds and transcribe the ever-changing flow of people into a complex network of abstract marks on canvas – resulting in a machine-manufactured painting. For his most recent exhibition with Lisson Gallery, streaming data and imagery from a London location above Trafalgar Square was turned into a new work.
Far from a jerky, machinic gesture, Liu sought a painterly sensibility in his digital proxy, which he described as “a silent old painter…very thorough about details and with unflagging patience, repeatedly drawing a scene...too diligent to rest, to know when to end, until he transforms this figurative picture into something abstract.” Watch Liu discussing this body of work in a new film by HENI talks.