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chi·me·ra |kīˈmi(ə)rə; kə-| noun 1 a mythical beast with parts taken from various animals. 2 a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve. 3 an organism containing a mixture of genetically different tissues, formed by processes such as fusion of early embryos, grafting, or mutation
Liu Gang, the only child of a humble rural family, gets a dream start for his art career as an American curator invites him to exhibit in the most prestigious art gallery in China. This film follows his metamorphosis from a humble photography graduate into a rising art star. While enjoying his new life within Beijing’s jet set world of westernized luxury, embassy parties and promises of international career, he starts to wonder who he is and where he is heading to.
A parallel storyline follows an international art star, Wang Guangyi, an aging multi-millionaire pop-artist. He is obsessed with questions of his legacy and feelings of emptiness after having achieved it all. He seems to be living off from the golden memories the glorious '80s when he was on the forefront of modernizing China with the revolutionary Western avant-garde ideas. As we get deeper into his story, there emerges another side to his success, as he starts to doubt his achievements. In the end he seems to have turned into an open rebellion against his own glorious past and converts into a fierce crusader against the dominance of Western influences.
Through these two artists and their parallel destinies within China’s turbulent contemporary art scene, Chimeras reflects on the formative questions of modern Chinese identity.