This book bundles the works of contemporary artists in Belgium and China. China can still be considered as 'Terra Incognita' when it comes to art. The image we have of Chinese art is quite cliche: China as an imitator of the western world. A confrontation between Belgian and Chinese contemporary artists is revealing and questions the dominant position of the West, both economically and artistically. This way, the confrontation Brussels/Beijing becomes one between different economic types and the juxtapositions between art and economy. This book is the official catalogue for the exhibition 'The state of things - Brussels/Beijing', for Europalia China, curated by Luc Tuymans and Ai Weiwei, held in the Fine Arts Museum in Brussels from October 16th 2009 until January 10th 2010.
Luc Tuymans is one of the most respected painters of his generation. His work is largely included in international museums, including the Museum Of Modern Art in New York and the National Museum of Modern Art Georges Pompidou Centre Paris. In 2004, Tate Modern London (UK) scheduled a great solo show of his paintings. This exhibition travelled to the K21 Kunstsammlung Dusseldorf (GER). He participated in the Biennale di Sao Paulo del Brasil in 2004. In 2008 several American museums invited Tuymans to have a large solo exhibition at their institutes. Ai Weiwei is a leading Chinese artist, curator, architectural designer, and cultural and social commentator. His artwork has been exhibited extensively in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the United States. His work was included in the 48th Venice Biennale 1999, Italy; the First Guangzhou Triennial 2002, China; "Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney"; and Documenta 12, where his monumental outdoor sculpture titled "Template" collapsed after a storm.