“While most people express certain grand themes by narrative approaches or a system of symbols, I want the opposite; to get rid of those so-called meanings and put more emphasis on the spiritual and perceptual experiences my works deliver.” – Liu Jianhua
Pace Hong Kong is showing Liu Jianhua’s spiritually uplifting solo exhibition To Be Done (August 20-Setpmber 24, 2015). Liu Jianhua displays his Blank Paper series. The series consists of white porcelain rectangle pieces which at first glance look like blank sheets of paper mounted on the walls of the gallery.
Above image: Liu Jianhua, Blank Paper (exhibition view at Pace Hong Kong), 2009-2012, porcelain, 201 x 103 x 0.8 cm.
The gallery states that “one must not be fooled by the simplicity of the show’s first appearance, as the viewer realizes when wandering the exhibition space there is a surreal atmosphere, that vibrates from the coiled corners of the fragile ceramic sheets, things are not what they initially seem”.
Liu explains, that the importance of his work is founded on the ‘experience’ his works deliver, giving the viewer free reign to project his or her own ideas into the pieces. In the past artist has metamorphosed everyday objects such as leaves, bones, containers and white paper into curious and fragile porcelain sculptures that no longer retain their function in reality.
The meaning (such as a piece of paper being used for writing one’s thoughts) is released from the original forms, like a spirit escaping a human body; this forces the viewer to reconsider and reevaluate the object. The interactive nature of the art makes the overall space and the visitors present become part of the creation.
The material, which still exists, acts as a vehicle for us to build pure intuitive perception. Simultaneously, the artist tries to make use of the ceramics’ fragile and challenging characteristics in order to combine ancient artistic techniques in a modern conceptual context. His is work is indefinite, insecure and venturesome.
Concurrent with Pace Hong Kong’s exhibition, Liu’s Discard is being shown at Japan’s triennial Echigo-Tsumari Art Field. This work was first exhibited at the Chinese Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2003. The piece is made of flawed and abandoned porcelain fragments produced by kilns across hundreds of years that Liu found. This is displayed alongside discoloured useless daily porcelain objects. It reflects a conflict with the spatial perception of reality in the form of estrangement.
Furthermore, the artist will be participating in the group exhibition, Reshaping Tradition: Contemporary Ceramics from East Asia at USC Pacific Asia Museum on 11th September 2015. He has also been commissioned to make a piece for the Asian Art Museum to be shown in California next March.
Liu Jianhua is one of China’s best known sculptural and installation artists who works primarily in porcelain and mixed media. He was raised in Jiangxi Province where he spent 14 years in learning the ceramic and porcelain craft at Jingdezhen’s factory. He graduated in Fine Art of Sculpture at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute in 1989, and from this strong foundation started his own experimental practices leaning towards a more conceptual aesthetic.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
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