The works of Sun Xun are mainly drawing and/or short animation. Sun Xun also exhibits his individual cell drawings and other mixed media works, often times alongside his films. His series of small mixed media works, entitled "Shock of Time" (2006), challenged notions of time, history and narration and utilized media such as newspapers, books and other documentary material that served to highlight certain passages of history. 21 KE (2010) was produced 3 years after its commencement and mainly completed by use of pastel and fusain on canvas. It constructs an impressive world full of wonders all in black and white. "Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined yet in the Revolution" (2011) is made by woodblock printing – a technique that was an important tool during the Cultural Revolution. This printing technique was used as an primary means of communication to quickly convey information to the masses. Clown's Revolution (2010), Beyond-ism (2010) and other such new works exhibit Sun Xun's recent attempt and breakthrough in the use of Chinese ink painting in his work. Although it is difficult, there is no doubt that the works are a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary art.
Reality and fantasy, time and history, both are continuously seen in Sun Xun's work. Works such as "21 KE", "Magician's Lie" and "Requiem" feature a key protagonist; a magician dressed in a black suit and a high top hat. The magician has been in search of another world, probably a utopia. Over the course of this character's expedition, the sequences are dreamlike and apocalyptic. Sun's works explore themes of societal development and revolution, referencing such theorists as Marx, Adorno, and Horkheimer.
His major animation works include: “Protestant”(2017), “Tears of Chiwen”(2017)，“Mythological Time” (2016), “Time Spy”(2016), “The Time Vivarium”(2014), “Magician Party and Dead Crow”(2013), "Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined yet in the Revolution"(2011), "Clown's Revolution"(2010), "Beyond-ism"(2010), "21 KE (21 GRAMS)"(2010), "People's Republic of Zoo"(2009), "New China"(2008), "Coal Spell"(2008), "Requiem"(2007), "Heroes No Longer"(2007), "Lie"(2006), "Mythos"(2006), "Lie of Magician"(2005), "A War About Chinese Words"(2005).
For Sun's work "21 KE (21 GRAMS)" the artist provides this synopsis: "This world has no specific time; we live in vanity. This is a confusing world. There's no law, no rule, and the lie dominates everything. There's lying and being lied to only. Telling a lie is morally condemned everywhere, but a magician is the only exception. When people feel lost, they mortgage their souls, and pin their hopes on magicians. Yes, magicians are the authority! A lie is the truth! And it's cheap!"
As a young artist, Sun Xun made an impressive impact, especially during recent years. He has received several notable awards including the "Chinese Contemporary Art Awards (CCAA Best Young Artist)" and "Taiwan Contemporary Art Link Young Art Award" in 2010, and the Civitella Ranieri Visual Arts Fellowship 2011/ 2012.
In 2012, his latest wood printing animation film “Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined yet in the Revolution” has been nominated by the Berlinale Shorts 2012 jury in 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. Merely 2 years after SUN Xun's work 21G entered Venice Film Festival in 2010, being the first Chinese animation film nominated by this festival, the artist brings animation work once again into top three A-class international film festivals.
Selected Works include: Protestant(2017), Tears of Chiwen(2017), Mythological Time(2016), Time Spy(2016), The Time Vivarium(2014), Magician Party and Dead Crow(2013), Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined Yet in the Revolution(2011), Clown's Revolution(2010), Beyond-ism(2010), 21 Ke(2010), People's Republic of Zoo(2009), New China(2008), Coal Spell(2008), Heroes No Longer(2007), Requiem(2007), Mythos(2006), Lie(2006), Lie of Magician(2005), A war about Chinese words(2005).
Sun Xun was born in 1980 in Fuxin in Liaoning province, China. He currently lives and works in Beijing. He graduated in 2005 from the Print-making Department of the China Academy of Art. In 2006 he established π Animation Studio.
Recent solo exhibitions include: SUN XUN, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia(2018); Prediction Laboratory, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2016); Republic of Jing Bang, a Country Based on Whale, Holland Animation Film Festival&City Hall, Utrecht, The Netherlands (2015); Yesterday Is Tomorrow, Hayward Gallery, London, U.K.(2014); Magician Party and Dead Crow, SUN Xun Residency Project, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing (2013); Beyond-ism - Sun Xun Solo Exhibition, ShanghART Beijing (2011); 21KE, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); The Soul of Time, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Switzerland (2010); Sun Xun: The Dark Magician of New Chinese Animation, Pacific film archive Theater, California University of Berkeley, USA (2009) etc. Recent group exhibitions include: The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim, Tales of Our Time, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, U.S.A.(2016); 2015 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan (2015); Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A.(2013); Taipei Biennial 2012, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei（2012）; Liverpool Biennial 2012, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK（2012）; Moving Image in China : 1988-2011, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2011); Yokohama International Triennale of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, Japan (2011); China Power Station - part 4, Pinacoteca Agnelli, Torino, Italy (2010); Aichi Tiennale 2010, Aichi, Japan (2010) etc.