Liu Wei 刘韡, ‘Purple Air 6’, 2006, Phillips

Property of an Important American Collector

From the Catalogue:
“The computer is like a big brain that is constantly thinking, and I am only organizing … But its method of thinking is totally different from mine. It is just pure logic into color.” –Liu Wei

Liu Wei is one of China’s leading contemporary artists, who, for the past 15 years, he has worked in many different styles and media ranging from sculpture, painting, installation and photography. As part of a generation in China that grew up during a period of rapid change and urbanization, he frequently looked to his surroundings for inspiration which he discovered in found objects and architectural constructions, to express his views of a changing material landscape comprised of decay, demolition and construction. He would break away from other artists around him who were subversively referencing politics to focus on expressing a freer art form without boundaries.

At the early age of 15, while studying painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, he would learn that technique was not necessarily important. Purple Air 6 is an iconic example of his early painting where he chose to transform and re-explore Chinese landscape painting. His hallmark geometric forms of horizontal and vertical lines in the foreground take the form of a monumental shape suggestive of craggy mountain partially obscured by the protruding branch of a pine tree, whereas the shapes in the background resemble a modern sprawling cityscape - all in a manner that references traditional Chinese landscape painting. Liu’s paintings are in fact not made with a brush but digitally rendered on a computer which is then painted onto a larger canvas by his assistants. A landscape made up of this geometric scheme is the artists’ own unique way of self-expression. He tries to find a personal sense of order within the turbulent disorder of contemporary landscape.

His works have been included in major museum exhibitions and collections around the world and he is represented by international galleries in New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed and dated 'Liu Wei [in Chinese and English] 2006' on the reverse

Zurich, Grace Li Gallery, Purple Air: New Works by Liu Wei, June 10 - August 10, 2006

Grace Li Gallery, Zurich
Acquired from the above by the present owner

About Liu Wei 刘韡

A multitalented member of the emerging generation of Chinese artists, Liu Wei has said he “[doesn’t] begin from a material or a technique […] I have an idea and then think about how to express it.” Working in a wide variety of media, Liu has progressed from witty cultural critiques, including “landscapes” composed of photographed buttocks and a sculpted six-foot turd studded with toy soldiers and electronic components, to evocative installation pieces that comment on urbanization and materialism in a rapidly changing China.

Chinese, b. 1972, based in Beijing, China