Miao Xiaochun

Desire, China, 2008

C-Print (Edition of 8), 121x300 cm

Microcosm, 2008 Video, 3D computer animation (Edition of 9), 15.29 min.

Courtesy of Alexander Ochs Galleries Berlin/Beijin

The artworks “Microcosmos” (work no. 8) and “Passion” (work no. 10) belong to a group of works by the Chinese artist Miao Xiaochun that are engaged in an intertextual dialogue with the painting “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (Holland 1450 - 1516). The original work, whose subject is sin and human morality, is a triptych composed of a left panel representing the Garden of Eden, a central panel representing Earth, and a right panel representing Hell.

With the use of 3-D animation software, Xiaochun redesigned Bosch’s triptych. Thus in the final creation it is possible to view Hell directly from Heaven while looking out over Earth, and from Hell it is possible to gaze back at Earth and Heaven. Birth provides us with a vantage point on Death, and from Death we can look back to Birth; from the Beginning we look forward to the End, and from the End gaze back and review the Beginning.

The artist has thus reformulated an ancient legend by turning it into a modern one. The original painting presents a spectacular scene populated with a host of figures and details that almost defy interpretation. Xiaochun, on the other hand, employs a modern language to create a new group of mysterious narratives. This form of expression proposes an alternative way to delve into the roots of the mysteries of other eras.

In the 3-D animation “Microcosmos” Xiaochun interprets the legend of Heaven and Hell, imagined by men, connecting them with other concepts such as nature, love and hate, life, death and rebirth. The DVD is projected on an unusually wide screen (36.9”), like an unfurled Chinese paint-scroll. The work’s soundtrack is a mix of computerized sound of a typewriter combined with segments of Wagner’s Tannhäuser.