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  • Catalogue Essay

    "Cities are reality; all of China is a city under construction, and of course this influences me." —— Liu Wei 

    Rendered in his signature flattened, distorted depictions of urban and natural landscapes, Landscape No. 2 (2005) is a compelling example of Liu Wei’s abstract exploration of the relationship between humans and their environment. Since the creation of It Looks Like a Landscape (2004) for the 2004 Shanghai Biennial -- a significant abstract landscape which attracted international attention -- Liu has mastered the synthesis of the flattened perspective of traditional Chinese shanshui (mountain and water) paintings with pixelated digital forms that evoke the computer error paintings of Liu’s contemporary, Jiang Zhi, and Western methods of oil painting. As seen in It Looks Like a Landscape, for which Liu adopts photography to capture the bent-over forms of men and women in the nude to evoke the image of mountains, the artist often employs cross-disciplinary mediums in his work. This is exemplified in Landscape No. 2 which sees Liu engage in both digital media and oil paint to create the final image.

     

      

    Liu Wei, It Looks Like a Landscape, 2004, M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong, © Liu Wei

     

    Born in 1972, Liu grew up within the context of China’s economic reforms and rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, feeling a distinct detachment from nature especially in major metropolitan centres such as Beijing. Despite his early training in realist painting, Liu’s work verges on abstraction, with the artist creating his designs on a computer before transferring his digital image onto the canvas, filling in the composition with a mesmerising array of tonal greys, whites and blacks. Prompting the viewer to question their perception of reality, Liu creates an image that is almost pixelated, arousing the geometric, architectural forms of a city and its gridded landscape, despite exploring a more natural theme. Liu hints at figuration in Landscape No. 2, his forms suggestive of a cascading waterfall that crashes into the tumultuous body of water below, above which trees tower high, stroking a stormy grey sky.

     

    Liu Wei has exhibited internationally, participating in his first European group exhibition, Beijing in London at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London in 1999. In 2006, the artist had his first solo show at Grace Li Gallery, Zurich, titled Purple Air, that featured a series of flattened landscapes painted in the same style as Landscape No. 2 and for which the artist became known. Since then, Liu has been honoured with numerous solo shows around the world, including Destiny at White Cube, London in 2014 and Shadows at Long March Space, Beijing in 2018, and his work has been featured in multiple biennials, such as Shanghai Biennale (2016, 2010 and 2004), La Biennale de Lyon (2015 and 2007), Gwangju Biennale (2010), Guangzhou Triennial (2012, 2008, 2005 and 2002) and Venice Biennale (2005). 

     

    Many more of his works can be found in major collections worldwide, including the DSL Collection in Paris; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the M+ Sigg Collection in Hong Kong. This year, Phillips Hong Kong sold Liu’s Purple Air 5 for HK$ 1,764,000, testament to the artist’s ability to represent the urbanisation of China in a distinctly universal manner that is compelling for a global audience. 

     

    Liu Wei, Purple Air 5, 2006, Sold by Phillips Hong Kong for HK$ 1,764,000 in June 2021
    • Condition Report

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2006

12

Landscape No. 2

signed, titled and dated 'Liu Wei Liu Wei [in Chinese] Liu Wei "Landscape NO.2 Landscape NO.2" 2005' on the reverse
oil on canvas
227.2 x 200.1 cm. (89 1/2 x 78 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2005.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$600,000 - 800,000 
€65,400-87,200
$76,900-103,000

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Contact Specialist

Hin Hin Wong
Associate Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2013
[email protected]

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Online Auction 21 - 30 July 2021