Exhibiting in multiple countries across the continent for his world tour, Xu Hongfei brings his unique collection of Fat Ladies to Berlin this September. As one of the leading contemporary artists in China, Xu has created over 100 of these expressive and entertaining sculptures with the aim of promoting a message of vitality, happiness and peace. Fat Ladies – Peace & Future has appropriately been brought to Berlin 70 years after the end of World War II to accentuate this ideal. Taking inspiration from everyday women in China, Xu applies his observations in a bold and creative manner resulting in realistic and relatable characters. The voluptuous women are both weighted and weightless simultaneously, and all the while wildly euphoric. With expressions of undeniable exuberance, the emotion is infectious and the viewer is able to share their joy.
The collection is lined up on the sidewalk at the entrance of Lustgarten (The Pleasure Garden) on Museum Island and the majority are cast in bronze with an unfinished, textured quality to them. Two of the sculptures at either end are pure white however, one of these being Rasante Fahrt (Tearing Pace). This amazing piece depicts a large woman on a bicycle, holding on to the handle bars but literally flying off in the air from it with a beaming smile on her face. The audience’s attention is instantly captivated seeing the woman both physically and emotionally flying high. Similarly in Fliegt Mit Mir (Fly With Me), Xu has sculpted a man running forward leading a large lady who, from the apparent speed of the motion is flying. With a romantic title and notion, this piece again sees its protagonist emotionally and literally elated.
Each sculpture in the collection features women in varying poses, frozen in the middle of their energetic actions. Gaining inspiration from the baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens, Xu fantastically renders the curvaceous nature of their figures giving them a romantic beauty and elegance with a powerful sense of movement. Many of Rubens’ painting feature beautiful, full-bodied women, the eloquent style of which notably comes across in the Fat Ladies sculptures. There is such a defined character and texture to these happy, confident women, and it is a thoroughly enjoyable collection to view.
Read more about the artist and see some of the sculptures here.