Xenakis, Iannis (1922- ). French composer, architect, and experimental artist, born at Brăila in Romania to Greek parents. His family returned to Greece in 1932 and he began to study engineering at Athens Polytechnic. The war intervened and after the German invasion of Greece in 1941 he fought in the Resistance, losing the sight of an eye when he was badly wounded in 1945. In 1947, after completing his engineering course, he settled in Paris, where he assisted * Le Corbusier in his architectural practice from 1948 to 1960. He became a French citizen in 1965. Xenakis is best known as a composer; his works 'are examples of a new and individual kind of musical thinking, based on models drawn from architecture, physics, and mathematics' ( New Oxford Companion to Music, 1983). In the visual arts he is notable for being among the most prominent creators of 'total environments' involving both spectacle and sound, in particular for pioneering the use of multiple lasers in light environments. For the French Pavilion at 'Expo '67' in Montreal he created a vast 'Polytope' made up of large concave and convex mirrors suspended on electrified cables producing 'visual melodies' by the action of light sources. In 1972 he created a still more strange and elaborate form of total spectacle at the Roman Baths off the Boulevard St Michel in Paris.
Xu Beihong (Hsü Pei-hung) (1895-1953). Chinese painter, teacher, and administrator, the most important figure in introducing Western ideas about art to his country. After the death of his father (a painter and village teacher) in 1915, Xu moved from his home in Jiangsu province to Shanghai, where he made a living by painting whilst studying French at university. From 1919 to 1927 he lived in Europe (with one brief trip home), travelling widely and studying in Paris (at the École des *Beaux-Arts) and Berlin. After his return to China he held a variety of teaching and administrative posts in Shanghai, Peking, and Nanjing, and when the country became the People's Republic of China in 1949 he was appointed director of the newly-founded Central Academy of Fine Arts and chairman of the National Artists' Association. His career was ended by a stroke in 1951. Xu's most characteristic works were large historical compositions. They were decidedly old-fashioned by European standards or even by the standards of his only rival in importance in introducing Western art to China--Liu Haisu ( 1896-1994), who was influenced by *Impressionism and *Post-Impressionism and who caused a scandal by introducing drawing from live models in his teaching at the Shanghai Academy. However, Xu's style was novel to most Chinese eyes and it was highly influential, proving completely compatible with the Soviet- inspired *Socialist Realism that became the official style in Communist China in the 1950s.
Xul Solar (Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari) (1887-1963). Argentinian painter, born at San Fernando, near Buenos Aires. He was the son of German-Italian immigrants, hence his rather jumbled name, which he compressed to Xul Solar. From 1912 to 1924 he travelled widely in Europe (in Italy he was a friend of his fellow-countryman *Pettoruti), then returned to Buenos Aires. Although he had absorbed features from European movements such as * Cubism and * Dada, he was self-taught as an artist and his work has a highly personal sense of fantasy and humour befitting his visionary and mystic outlook. He worked on a small scale, chiefly in tempera and watercolour, rarely exhibited, and sought no honours. His work has been divided ino three phases. The first runs from 1917 to 1930, when his paintings featured colourful forms of geometric tendency, stylized emblems and
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Publication information: Book title: A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art. Contributors: Ian Chilvers - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 663.
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