Liu Jianhua (b.1962, Ji’an, China) began his career in 1977 by working at the Jingdezhen Pottery and Porcelain Sculpture Factory. In 1985, he was admitted to the Fine Arts Department of the Jingdezhen Pottery & Porcelain College, majoring in Sculpture. After graduating in 1989, Liu went on to teach at the College of Fine Arts at the Yunnan Institute of the Arts. Since 2004, Liu has been a professor in the Sculpture Department of the Fine Arts School of Shanghai University. Creating sculpture and installations in porcelain, found objects, and other materials, Liu responds to Chinese culture and material history within the context of globalization. Liu, together with artists Hong Hao, Xiao Yu, Song Dong, and curator Leng Lin, established the Polit-Sheer-Form Office group in 2005.
His work is included in the permanent collections of institutions including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Guangdong Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Kawara Museum, Shiga; Shenzhen Art Museum; Today Art Museum, Beijing; USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai. His installation Square (2014) was included in the 2017 Venice Biennale.
Pace Beijing is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Beijing-based installation artist Liu Jianhua. Following his preview two solo exhibitions at Beijing Commune, the artist is examining a deeper exploration into the thematic overlap of contemporary art and the traditional Chinese spirit, unveiling a new aesthetic that drifts away from the prevailing popular value system in the country.
Beginning in 2008, Liu Jianhua started to shift the theoretical focus of his artistic creation away from sociological interpretations and towards the development of his own unique conception of what he refers to as “quiet aesthetics.” In his recent work, the artist avoids the distracting noise of a superficial reality, watching calmly and rethinking thoroughly his view of society, the cultural environment and the human spirit from a distance.
This exhibition will include two new sets of Liu Jianhua’s recent work, Untitled 2012 and 1.2 Meters. The works feature a daring materiality designed to deliver a new visual experience to the audience. Through these innovations in materials, the artist seeks to elicit a different interpretation from viewers than what is the customary response to other installation work. In Untitled 2012, Yingqing (Shadow Blue) antique dishes and Qinghua (Blue and White) porcelain are intentionally mixed together to create subtle nuances, implying the possibility of an objective judgment and recognition gained from daily observation. Our everyday perception has been skillfully transformed into a philosophical inquiry, with sculptural functionality serving as epistemological metaphor.
1.2 Meters presents a constant feeling deeply woven into people’s daily life. This piece utilizes iron wires as its medium, reappropriating these mundane connective tools by elevating their utility from the anonymous materials of mass production to the precious status of rarefied art objects. Iron wires have been transformed and expanded from a kind of relatively violent material into a clearing where elegance and danger co-exist, opening a new perspective and the possibility of refreshed analysis and judgment.
The era of information overload also poses the threat of cultural homogenization. In response to the pervasive current psychological state of people, trapped in an unthinking addiction to rapid development and technological innovation, Liu Jianhua tries to awaken a traditional spirit through his artistic creation. He provides a kind of reflection and introspection that is independent of any popular value and interest, a re-interpretation of individuality and spirituality in contemporary times.
Liu Jianhua was born in 1962 in Jiangxi Province, China. He currently lives and works in Shanghai, China. He has shown and gained popularity both locally and internationally, including exhibitions such as Silent Anomalies, Art & Public Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland (2012); Screaming Wall, UCCA, Beijing, China (2011); Liu Jianhua: Horizon, Beijing Commune, Beijing, China (2009) and Dream in Conflict, Galleria Continua Gallery, San Gimignano, Italy (2008). Group exhibitions include ARSENALE 2012: The 1st Kiev Biennale of Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine (2012); The 2nd Beijing Voice: Leaving Realism Behind in Pace Beijing, Beijing, China (2011); The 14th International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara, Carrara, Italy (2010), as well as New World Order: Present-Day Installation Art and Photography in the Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands (2008).