Mika Mattila
2013 | 90 minutes | Finland, China
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

Set in China’s turbulent contemporary art world, Chimeras offers an intense reflection on modern Chinese identity. The story interweaves the parallel narratives of a young man taking the Beijing art scene by storm and an aging international pop-art star questioning his own legacy. When an American curator invites Liu Gang to show his artwork in the most prestigious gallery in China, the young photographer from modest means is thrust into a whirlwind of Westernized luxury, embassy parties, and promises of an international career. He struggles to balance his life as an artist with his responsibilities to his family and his fiancée. As Liu begins to wonder who he is and where he is heading, his questions find an echo in Wang Guangyi—an older, established artist who achieved international fame, enormous wealth, and artistic fulfillment during the “second revolution” of the 1980s. Wang was on the forefront of modernizing China with revolutionary Western avant-garde ideas, but now he is filled with doubt about the dominance of outside influence in the Chinese art world. He bitterly rails against the value of the Western ideals he once championed, and his story, juxtaposed with Liu’s, raises profound questions about authenticity and cultural voice in art.  

Following the screening director Mika Mattila will be in conversation with one of the film's protagonist Liu Gang.

Co-presented by China Institute and Asia Society

What compelled you to see for yourself?
If you do not see for yourself, do you see at all? This is not just question of filmmaking or documentaries, it is about life. One should never accept the stories, myths, histories, fantasies and "brainwashes" that we are constantly offered as "truths" about who we are. If you do not constantly check the mechanisms and hidden motivations behind the stories that surround you, you will never be able to see who you really are.
—Mika Mattila | Director, Chimeras