China’s Cyber-Age Transfigurations at the Venice Biennale

June 3, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Despite their government’s minor aversion to boundary-pushing art, China is killin’ it at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Featured at this year’s Chinese Pavilion is the work of digital artist Miao Xiaochun (and six others) centering around the theme of “transfiguration.” Playing on this notion, the installations figuratively explore the transformation of life to art by reinterpreting canonical Christian imagery in light of today’s digital world.

The Last Judgement in Cyberspace, for instance, is a lifelessly digitized greyscale version of  Michaelangelo’s legendary Sistene Chapel fresco— “a commentary,” explains Designboom, “on how things are portrayed in mainstream media, which has caused us to become desensitized to our surroundings.” Other pieces depict legendary scenes from art history — like the crucification of St. Peter, Noah’s Ark, and the Pieta — through various clever, albeit somewhat dystopian, contemporary lenses.