Miao Xiaochun’s modern day version of earthly pleasures, paradise and hell


Showing casing at PANORAMA is Miao Xiaochun‘s (b 1964)  work Microcosm.  Themes of time and transformation underlie  his earlier work such as Mirage (2004), which depict the artist alone in a cable car gazing at Xuit, a city popularly referred to in China as ‘little Shanghai’ on account of its rapid urban growth and industry.  In a second cable car opposite his own, the artist has placed a lifelike mannequin dressed as a traditional Chinese scholar: the impassive figure rises towards heaven – a metaphor for the receding importance of history and tradition in daily life – while Miao descends towards the distant sprawled city: an expanse of skyscrapers and industrial development stretching in all directions. (page 167, Urban Transition, Melissa Chiu and Benjamin Genocchio, Contemporary Asian Art).  Microcosm appropriates the artist’s own version of famous 15th century masterpiece by Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights.   To access the work at PANORAMA, it is necessary to pass through a black curtain somewhat hidden at the back of the exhibition.  The use of 3D technology has enabled the artist to ‘remould an ancient fable into a modern fable’, and the shifting perspectives permit the viewer to engage with Miao’s modern-day version of earthly pleasures, paradise and hell.

Miao Xiaochun writes on his own work, “Life is like a chess game full of changes and uncertainties. Humans are like chessmen, and they are being pushed by a certain power without their own control. Either you win or lose, there is only one game for you. You will leave after the game, and there are no re-matches or re-placing of the chessmen”.  View the full statement at http://www.miaoxiaochun.com/zhongwenyemian/yishujiazishu/microcosm%20e8.htm


  1. Tumy

    I’m intrigued by the “lifelike mannequin dressed as a traditional Chinese scholar: the impassive figure rises towards heaven”. It’s beautifully sad in a divine way, leaving such a nostalgic feeling lingering. Tradition and heaven are the two very cores of Asian sentimental souls.

    I’m curious to see the real work. Isn’t there any way I can have a look at it online?

    • Tumy,

      Art Radar publishes a full interview with Miao Xiaochun online. Below is a link to a short video of his work, which is currently show casing at the Singapore Art Museum as part of the Panorama exhibition.

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