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27 Mar 2015

Painting China Now at Ateliê397 (Sao Paulo, Brazil) by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau

© Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau
Comic drawing by Kakalik

Painting China Now


Opening: March 30, 2015 March 30 - April 24, 2015 Opening and talk with the artists on March 30 from 7 p.m.

Marcelo Amorim
+55 11 3034 2132

Rua Wisard, 397
Vila Madalena; São Paulo

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Ateliê397 and the São Paulo Department of Culture, through Proac [Cultural Action Program], will present an exhibition entitled 'Painting China Now' by Czech-Finnish artists Ondrej Brody and Kristofer Paetau. The exhibition runs from March 30 to April 24, 2015.

In the exhibition 'Painting China Now' the artists use the comic-strip format to create a 'layout' occupying the walls of the exhibition space and telling the story of producing the exhibition, which will show oil paintings, commissioned from painting studios in China, depicting instances of torture in that country.

Since 2007, Brody & Paetau have been producing paintings using the so-called 'painting factories' in China: commercial studios where hyper-realistic images are painted on a commission basis. Exhibition 'Painting China Now', which is being held for the first time in São Paulo, was launched in Belgium in 2007, went to Holland in 2008, and was presented in Poland in 2010, in Germany in 2011, and at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro in 2013. It was the first of a series of works entitled 'Made in China', in which the artists outsourced their paintings to those studios, where the working conditions are often very precarious.

Brody & Paetau draw attention to the outsourcing/offshoring issue: the outsourcing and relocation of manufacturing facilities in developing countries to maximize profits. Testing the limits of their own strategy, they exploit the critical potential of outsourcing to Chinese factories. At the same time they use specific technical skills of their Chinese assistants to reproduce any image realistically at unbeatable prices – demonstrating that almost every artist can afford to work with assistants – the artists ironically imitate the production process of popular contemporary artists who employ tens of assistants to meet the demand for production from an eager global art market. Thus, the artists show us that the art world is not free of this problem.

The exhibition features 30 oil paintings (30cm x 40cm) depicting victims of torture inflicted by the Chinese government upon its own citizens. All paintings have been painted according to photographs found on a North-American website documenting Falun Dafa members, victims of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. The images are censored in China.

The artists, who describe the criticality of their works as homeopathic in the sense of 'let like be cured by like', appropriate the commercial aesthetics, reenacting it to draw public attention on phenomena and problems related to politics and the economy, denouncing certain hypocrisy of the Western world, which overlooks major social problems experienced by the Chinese while establishing business partnerships with the Chinese government.

The artists will hold a talk on their trajectories at the opening. They will present a set of comic strips illustrating and documenting their work. The comics will be made available as free e-books at stores like Amazon and iTunes. The first of them – which has not yet been translated into Portuguese – is available on (

The opening event will also include the launch of Corredor397 with Fábio Tremonte, as well as the launch of the book, Quando percurso torna-se destino by the artist, covered by the Programa Edital Rede Nacional Artes Visuais [National Network Tender Program for Visual Arts] – 10th edition.

Hours and Admission:
Painting China Now, by Ondrej Brody & Kristofer Paetau.
Opening and talk with the artists on March 30 from 7 p.m.
March 31 to April 24, 2015
Monday to Friday, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Free admission.