Liu Wei (don't use) - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Monday, June 28, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong

  • Catalogue Essay

    The current lot is a rare watercolour by Liu Wei, enfant terrible of the Chinese avant-garde. Liu is a profoundly non-conformist artist; his subjective and often iconoclastic oeuvre is one that perfectly captures the wave of changes sweeping China in recent years. The current lot comes from Liu’s Swimmers series in 1994, one of the most important and sought-after body of works by the artist. Images of Mao swimming in the Yangtze River have long been engraved in the public conscience, but here Liu has abandoned the ideology of athletic doctrine for an imagined scene of flagrant sexuality. Mao is depicted emerging from the corner with his tongue sticking out perversely at the female figure. This deliberately crude portrayal of suppressed desire and sexuality is juxtaposed against the delicately painted ripples, erotically charged peony, and the sensual forms of the female body. In a bitingly satirical tone, Liu highlights the corruption of the soul and its manifestation on the human body, ultimately transforming his subjects into a revelation of moral character. Viewed in this context, this work reveals the overwhelming contradictions and tensions between the shifting currents of China’s rapid transformation.



Watercolour on paper.
24 × 35 cm (9 1/2 × 13 4/5 in).
Signed and dated ‘1994.3 Liu Wei [in Chinese and Pinyin]’ lower right.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010