China's Van Goghs

by Yu Haibo

Biografilm Art

(Paesi Bassi, Cina / 2016 / 80’)

An army of Chinese Van Goghs. This the human landscape of Dafen, a suburb of the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Artist here work day and night to produce exact replicas of Van Gogh paintings that are widely popular on the international market. But for Zhao Xiaoyong, a peasant-turned-painter, this mechanical process, which detracts content from its form, is no longer enough. He wants to truly understand Van Gogh, to get to the heart of what cannot be reproduced: the soul of an artist and his work. His journey from China to Amsterdam is the story of self-discovery through the appreciation of art, offering a powerful metaphor for the turmoil in China, in the throws of transition, and the West, ready to squander the treasures that make up its identity.

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