Painting China Now (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau



Painting China Now is a collection of thirty new oil paintings by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau. These works, depicting instances of violence inflicted by the Chinese government upon their own citizens, are rendered with a breathtaking realism. Such masterful craft and handling of paint has become alien to the west, specifically in our contemporary arts, provoking the artists to commission a professional Chinese craftsman via the internet to realize the paintings for a cheap price and to import them to Europe. The results are beautiful, seductive and desirable works whose motivation, through suggesting ‘painterly qualities’, is in fact to embody the realities of capitalist profit and political oppression in a painting.

The following pictures are an overview of the exhibition that took place at KIOSK (Ghent, Belgium) mid december 2007 until mid january 2008 as well as studio shots of each painting. If you wish to discover more about the depicted subjects please follow the link which was the source for our project:

Painting China Now (2007)

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

PAINTING CHINA NOW (2007) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau



44 Responses to “ Painting China Now (2007) ”

  1. at least artists who dare ask China questions .honest, rude, not in search for the money .

  2. I will look defenitly a second and third time on those works

    they are good for museums, for sites which we visit three a six times a year,
    but not good enough for my living, or maybe to good, because they hurt

    i will purchase one “for sure”
    yours, harm

  3. Marvellous!

  4. blaming china is quite fashionable, no? but still striking images

  5. Whatever dudes: your project has been done before, and better. North-Korea, or Sri Lanka, would have been more exciting and intriguing picks for your project. So, whatever! Lame’os!

  6. Kind of timeless since things like this we see in “underground” media quite often, specially with ongoing wars like today…but to paint them makes it qiute different. Showing thogh is not enough, thats the problem…is like I don´t like japanese killing all the whales and tuna fish…but never smashed a fake chinese japanese sushi place their tuna in their face…we are just to comfortable I guess.

  7. What makes China different is the economic goldrush by western countries to cash in on the market in China, regardless of official actions like these. Where is the public pressure on China to treat its citizens better? That they are paintings makes these images the more shocking. Who are these brave people? they remind me of religious 16th cent. paintings from Spain depicting the sufferings of saints. Keep up the work.

  8. i really do not know what to think. there is so many propaganda all around. but the point is, that wherever we might live, we can find similar problems in our narrow surround as well, let it be on the west or south, wherever.
    and our souls may be treated like these, too.

    do you think these artists will return to china soon?

  9. Leon Golub anyone?

  10. Sophisticated agitprop (agitation – propaganda) is going to be big. While Chinese artists are mining the Western historical cannon for unturned stones, no amount of “Chineseness” is going to be competitive in this post or late modern era. Only unalloyed direct communication without mediation is going to save the world from itself.

    This is not sophisticated – more sophmoric – in fact an art joke – but the subject matter is serious, and this kind of inhumanity is wrong whenever and wherever it occurs.

  11. This project is not blaming China as much as it is blaming the Western world for looking for profit in China and closing the eyes on obvious violations of human rights. And to make an artistic statement with the traditional medium of painting out of this political and economical problem seems quite cool to me.

  12. “Sophisticated agitprop” is academic bullshit and good for official biennales and boring discourses like yours. And it’s “sophomoric” not “sophmoric”. By the way most of the historical Agitprop art was accused of being “sophomoric” (immature) as it occured.

  13. nice skin

  14. why not just show blow up photos…more real. sorry, there’s really no point painting them

  15. This is a brilliant idea, but to really follow through their critique of capitalism, the artists must GIVE THESE PAINTINGS AWAY, not add them to the same shitstream of capitalist dollars and senselessness. Of course, i dont expect you to do that, artists should get paid for their art. Best, max blagg

  16. Photos more real? Ever heard of Photoshop? The point is not about what’s more real here but who the audience is and will they be moved by the images – that’s what art and propaganda share (and anyway most of the famous frescos were propaganda for the church and Medici’s, so let’s not get hung up on that old chestnut).
    As images they’re documentary and straight forward. As paintings (without seeing the texture) they don’t inspire me. For people who like their paintings straightforwardly documentary then they may be moved to do something (hopefully more than just buy the paintings). But for people who are already conscious about human rights abuses and wanting to do something about it, these pics don’t add much. But what do i know – we all need to do what we can the best we can. So I wish you luck

  17. kunst ist nicht real!!

    du machst immer noch kunst?
    du bist immer noch ein visionaer!!??
    glaubst immer noch an die fanthasie?
    o jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    macht weiter dein spass

    take care

  18. I have seen many works lately, taking advantage of the oil painting industry of China in the name of art to try to point finger at this and that. Very very few of them succeeds in getting away with it. Sadly, this does not either.
    It just seems morbid to attempt “reveal or highlight” these acts of crime to the same group of people that have seen and experienced them first hand. This is just not the way to tell a story. And let me remind you, for whatever it is worth – that when You paid for these paintings, they most lightly did not find their way into the hands of the hand that painted them.

  19. congratulations indeed !
    impressive outsourcing business and the art work!

    are you aware that Chinese embassy will always try to close your show if you make explicit the context/ the story behind?…

    p.s. how much did you pay to the crafts-persons?

  20. fantastic, shocking .. but fantastic. goes [ clearly ] under your
    skin. impressive

  21. the incredible impressions of the reality in this superpower society is really a big contrast to the pretended harmony and I hope that a lot of people will be aware of this

  22. The West just wants cheap products to keep their economy boiling and don`t give a shit about human rights or the plight of the Chinese sweatshop worker. Have you checked the annual earnings of Walmart lately? You have made your point about the brutality of man. -but that is universal when it comes to suppressing or forcing religion on the poor huddled masses.
    Unfortunately, when you say “breathtaking realism” or “masterful craft and handling of paint” or “beautiful, seductive and desirable works” you`re so far off. Theme aside, it is just bad painting. The Chinese craftsman will never grasp Goya or Velasquez or Carravaggio. Because he will only see them in books. -and judging by your introduction, you have no idea about painting either.
    Execution is the chariot of genius.
    Signed, a western artist who is still involved with craft.

  23. Art removed, I think the political nature of this act is important, and the more light brought to such atrocities can only be a good thing.

    Its quite common for artists to commission those talented to excecute their ‘brilliant’ concept. As art and a supposed creative act, I find this pretty lame. If the hand is the wonder, then use your own copper. To extend the idea, commissioning a chinese artist to realise these images is like wishfulment of how you perhaps think a chinese artist could better be embracing his social environment as subject matter, – lame again. The irony of this situation is in the potential interception by state, rendering the commssioned artist as the author of the works, -hence critic of state. Taking risks on others behalf, ouch. Typical behaviour for our time. If you saved so much money on the commission get your toesh on a plane and meet the chap, perhaps even apologise.

    james beckett

  24. trabalho muito doido esse seu!

  25. disgusting damning the art

  26. cheap art from other people’s misery – I’m sure there is a collector out there who can ‘tut-tut’ with his friends at their next dinner party. Hope the artists haven’t signed the work!

  27. I see this more as an artistic demonstration of the fucked-up situation the western world continues to maintain (in order to profit from it) in China. Actually these paintings should be sold very expensively in order to fullfill the demonstration.

  28. very hip

  29. we all know what is happening, what can a realist painting in docu style do more ?

  30. brody paeteu is so cool. once he vomited at an art fair. once he pooped in a museum. once he spray painted andy warhol’s grave.
    once he attended a art insitution that paid him big money. once he smashed a computer. once he exploited some poor artists. now he dates a czech movie star.
    cool, money.

  31. It’a hard to watch tourture again and again. Is this a neo colonialist chinise art product? why now when is going so well for china?

  32. I have lived in Asia for several decades and have come to loath the Chinese. I despise everything about their culture based as it is on one of the most neurotic work ethics ever evolved in world history. To think that they may well become the most powerful nation on earth is enough to make me want to commit suicide!

  33. uau…
    the paintings says everything

  34. what about doing something with Islam? some caricatures of Mohammed?

  35. you should die.

  36. I think the installation works, and the project too.
    Although I’m not sure about the political statement implied. After all in a so called “civilized” country like Italy policemen shoot people on a regular basis. At least one person is killed by a policeman every year (since 1948), and no policeman has ever been convicted in the whole history of Italy.
    Furthermore, Amnesty International every year denounces torture being practiced in Italian prisons, yet nothing gets done about it, not from the Italian government, nor from the European Union.

    Ok, Italian artists are more expensive though!

  37. from koko- good job, guys!

  38. Bullshit, as if you’d care for chinese citizens.

  39. Marvellous work!!! Merely bringing these atrocities to the attention of the civilized world is supportive enough. The paintings are an historical milestone that will certainly inspire an attitude of peace if their message is properly understood.
    Clarius ugwuoha

  40. Everything has been done before. That’s not what matters! The installation not only critiques politics, but society, culture, the museum, and western vs. eastern culture. I am living in America and for me to see this work is thought-provoking. Most of the critiques on this wall so far suck ass.

    Some concerns:

    1) You two are from a western culture. Why paint on white paper, white canvas, and in a rectangular format? Those are iconography of Fine Art, which was made to separate cultures and to create racism. Are you thinking about that in this art making process and how does it all fit?

    2) Why couldn’t this have been on a tinted paper, from floor to ceiling, but with the light shining on it. Why not have the paper continuously wraping around as in a cycle only to broken up with the entrance to suggest human intervention?

    3) Are you planning on continuing this series of work to other cultures? I know that those pictures were your main inspiration, but you are responsible for the tools you are using. Let’s be real, other cultures are doing some nasty things before and after China. Since the Chinese torture is in your inventory, I think it is only proper to investigate the invention of this type of torture in other types of cultures.

    4) I think it’s only proper to disregard the comments of people on here who state in their anonymity that you two don’t care. It takes time to paint, it takes time to install work, and it takes time to make a difference. I think you two are trying to make a difference.

    – Jonathan Cobbs
    nate blake

  41. lots of comments, lots of misunderstandings… this work is definitely working!

  42. Maybe you should incorporate the comments above into the exhibition?! 😉
    Anyway… brilliant idea, striking work. Hats off to you, guys.

    – Sascha Brossmann

  43. J’ai suivi le travail de beaucoup de chinois, j’ai même exposé avec certains qui excellent dans notre métier, voila pourquoi je prends la peine de déposer ce message.
    Ne croyez pas que vos images m’aient choqué. Non, car on ne choque plus aujourd’hui. Ce qui a retenu mon regard, c’est la qualité (inégale cependant) de certaines peintures ici exposées.
    Vous faites preuve d’un certain talent technique et j’y suis sensible, cependant je me permettrai de vous donner quelques conseils, en tant que professeur, afin d’utiliser votre technique dans l’intérêt de tous, à commencer par vous-mêmes.
    Voici ce que m’inspire votre travail :
    Une erreur communément répandu, confondant art et commerce, prétend depuis quelques décennies que l’art à pour première qualité d’être nouveau, jamais vu, etc. partant de cet axiome, tout est possible et conduit inexorablement aux pires réalisations, ce que nous vivons actuellement.
    Je ne distingue dans ces peintures que la recherche du jamais vu. Chimère qui n’existe que dans les petites têtes, car ce que l’on croit inventer a déjà été exploité par d’autres auparavant.
    Ce culte du nouveau, qui sévit depuis ½ siècle a réduit l’art au point de sa propre disparition. Ce que l’on appelle « art » aujourd’hui est vidé de son sens initial tel qu’on l’entend depuis des siècles, et se confond avec la mode. Ce phénomène aidant, le mot art aujourd’hui ne sert que de pratique expiatoire à ceux qui se croient artistes et n’expriment en fait que leur prétention à un statut social.
    Ce ne sont pas les sujets représentés par ces peintres chinois que je critiquerai ici, mais leur interprétation essentiellement « photographique », entièrement dénuée de sensibilité humaine. Ce qu’en général on attend d’une œuvre d’art, c’est que transparaisse l’humain.
    Je suis de ceux qui reconnaissent et affirment qu’une représentation picturale peinte doit être réalisée en « contact optique direct » avec le sujet et non par l’intermédiaire qu’est le filtre de l’objectif photographique. Pour être vulgaire, je dirai que c’est faire l’amour avec un préservatif. Cela signifie que l’on doit s’abstraire du médium photographique et placer son chevalet devant le modèle réel, en trois dimensions.
    Ce que dévoilent ces peintures, ce ne sont que de mauvaises photos dépourvues d’émotion.
    Je conseillerais à ces peintres, auxquels je dénie ici le nom d’artiste, d’utiliser leurs connaissances techniques pour s’attacher à des sujets transcendants qui touchent en profondeur les amateurs d’art ou qui les fassent rêver. Ce type d’agression faussement réaliste à laquelle ils se livrent actuellement ne peut rien leur apporter, sinon l’admiration de cerveaux vides à la recherche du sensationnel.

  44. Pierre GILOU. Ceci est la traduction Google du texte précédent.

    I followed the work of many Chinese, I even set out with some who excel in
    our profession, that is why I take the trouble to file this message.
    Do not think your images m’aient shocked. Not because it does not shock anymore. What
    caught my eye, is the quality (however unequal) of certain paintings exhibited here.
    You demonstrate some technical talent and I’m sensitive, but I will
    give you some advice, as a teacher, to use your technique in
    everyone’s interest, starting with yourself.
    Here is what inspires your work:
    An error commonly widespread, confusing art and commerce, claimed in recent decades
    the art to be of high quality new, never seen, etc.. Starting from this axiom, everything is
    possible and leads inexorably to the worst achievements, which we now live.
    I can see in these paintings that the search ever seen. Chimera that exists only in
    small heads, for what we believe was invented already been exploited by others before.
    This new cult, which has raged for half century has reduced art to the point of his own demise.
    The so-called “art” today is emptied of its original meaning as understood since
    centuries, and merges with fashion. This helps the word art today serves only
    practice of atoning for those who consider themselves artists and express that in their claim
    social status.
    These are not the subjects represented by these Chinese painters that I criticize here, but their
    interpretation essentially “photographic” entirely devoid of human sensibility. This
    that generally expected of a work of art, it transpires that humans.
    I am among those who acknowledge and affirm that a pictorial representation must be painted
    performed in “direct optical contact” with the subject and not through what the filter
    the camera lens. To be vulgar, I would say that is to make love with
    condom. This means that we must himself from the photographic medium and its place
    bridge to the real model in three dimensions.
    What these pictures reveal, these are just bad pictures devoid of emotion.
    My advice to these artists, which I deny here the artist’s name, using their
    technical knowledge to focus on the transcendent issues affecting deep
    art lovers or who dream to do. This type of aggression that falsely realistic
    they are engaged now nothing can bring back, if not the admiration of the brain empty
    Proposer une meilleure traduction
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