China’s Van Goghs – Screening on Thursday 27th April at the Théâtre de Marens in Nyon at 18:30
In 1989 in the village of Dafen in China there were 20 painters/workers copying oil paintings and making reproductions of famous artworks. Today there are over 10,000. One of these painters is Xiaoyong Zhao who specialises in painting the works of Van Gogh, and over the years he has sold hundreds of copies of “Sunflowers”, “The Starry Night” and other works to a buyer who lives in Amsterdam. Xiaoyong Zhao and his whole family paint and work long hours in creating these reproductions. They study the photos they have been sent of each work and paint the size of the picture according to the commission, they frame them, create pallets for then and ship them off to the other side of the world.
After many years working on thousands of copies, Xiaoyong Zhao has a yearning to see an original Van Gogh painting so with some fellow workers he heads off to the Netherlands. The trip produces some unexpected consequences for him resulting in him assessing his own artistic talents and his future.
This documentary directed by Haibo Yu and Tianqi Kiki Yu is a fascinating look at the extraordinary life of these painters and of contemporary life in China. The excellent soundtrack also deserves a special mention. See the trailer below.