Beijing-born painter Liu Ye (b. 1964) combines abstraction and figuration to create bold, meditative paintings that investigate the intersections of history and representation through a distinct vocabulary that transcends traditional Eastern and Western art-historical categories. Drawing on both his childhood memories of China and his early education in Europe, the artist’s carefully balanced, methodical compositions play on perspective and ways of seeing, while also referencing a diverse range of aesthetic, literary, and cultural sources. Among these are the fairy-tale worlds of Hans Christian Andersen and Lewis Carroll; literature by Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Nabokov; and modernist painting, architecture, and design, from Balthus to the Bauhaus. These various points of reference have inspired Liu’s artistic output for more than twenty-five years, resulting in a body of work that is at once rich in its historical quotations and singularly his own.
Liu studied mural painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and industrial design at the School of Arts & Crafts, both in Beijing, before studying at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. The artist spent six years living and studying in Europe, which included a six-month-long residency in 1998 at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.
The artist’s work was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai (November 2018 through January 2019). Other solo museum presentations include shows at Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort, The Netherlands (2016) and Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2007).
His work has also been featured in significant international group exhibitions, including Hello World: Revising a Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2018); The World in 2015, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); Focus Beijing: De Heus-Zomer Collection, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2014); Re-View: Opening Exhibition of Long Museum West Bund, Long Museum, Shanghai (2014); In Time, 2012 Chinese Oil Painting Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2012); Future Pass: From Asia to the World, 54th Venice Biennale (2011; traveled to Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung; and Today Art Museum, Beijing); Chinamania, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark (2009); and Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley (2008; traveled to Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts). In 2017, Liu’s work was included in the 57th Venice Biennale as part of Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, director of the 2017 Venice Biennale and chief curator at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Work by Liu is held in numerous public collections, including the Long Museum, Shanghai; M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong; the Shanghai Art Museum; Today Art Museum, Beijing; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai. Liu lives and works in Beijing.