MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present Pagan, the first solo exhibition of Liu Chengrui at the gallery. Primarily a performance artist, Liu Chengrui is often recognized for his mastery of scenic visual language, combined with a meticulous and ritualistic use of body. His works stimulate viewers’ spiritual and instinctive senses of belief. The exhibition features a seven-day performance, telling the story of a “pagan” pilgrimage, in which men recognize and make peace with the limitation imposed by life.
The setting of Pagan is deliberately simple. An oval green pool in the centre of the gallery constitutes the main stage. Minimalistic, clean background and exotic green both contribute to a surrealistic scene. Immersed in this magical atmosphere, viewers instantly plunge into a serene reflection. During the exhibition, Liu Chengrui will perform from 12:00 to 17:30 everyday. For species on Earth, this precisely is the time from when the sun reaches its highest point, to the moment it goes below the horizon. For seven days, the artist will execute various performances in the pool with red, orange, yellow, green, black, blue and violet balls. The artist will take each second and each movement in the performance as a decisive action, until reaching the hardest spiritual core of the “pagan”.
In the West, “pagan” may refer to a person who isn’t Christian, Jewish or Muslim, among others. In China, however, the corresponding term “异教徒” (yijiaotu) addresses a wider range of meanings. For instance, yijiaotu does not seek reassurance in the existence of Heaven, but rather chooses to appreciate life as it is. As a limited individual, man cannot understand the infinity of life. However, through body performance, one can explore and measure, thus increasing sensory perception as well as comprehension of this concept. Through his art, Liu Chengrui enhances individual experience and expands its dimensions. In the performance Pagan, Liu Chengrui isn’t himself, he is each and every individual. This is an absolutely new method of connection that art establishes for us all.
Liu Chengrui (Guazi) was born in Qinghai Province in 1983. He graduated from Qinghai Normal University with a degree in Fine Arts in 2005, and currently lives and works in Beijing. His practice covers “live performances”, “durational performances”, videos, writings, etc. “Live performances” (or on-site performances) highlight the intense degree of repetition of certain behaviors in a particular setting. “Durational performances” often explore the relationships among people established for art-related purposes, regardless of any potential cultural inequalities. Maintaining this relationship with people, the artist manages to influence their life paths and social characters. Most of the artist’s durational performances last for a lifetime. The artist’s video work often employes pasture landscape as backgrounds to invoke the absurdity and poetic qualities of human beings situated in such a surrealistic atmosphere.
Liu Chengrui’s major solo exhibitions include: Into The Sun, ARTASTE, Beijing, China, 2015; So the River, A4 CAC, Chengdu, China, 2013; Our Backgrounds are All the Same, Vitamin Creative Space, Beijing, 2011, etc. Selected group exhibitions include: Heavy Artillery, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia, 2016; The 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia, 2015; 6th Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia, 2015; Performance Platform Lublin, Labyrinth Gallery, Lublin, Poland 2013; The 19th Nippon International Performance Art Festival, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagano, Japan, 2013; 53rd Venice biennale international art exhibition Exhibits from Macao, Venice, Italy, 2009, etc. Selected awards: Excellence Award, Youth Plus-Young Artists Promotion Project supported by China National Arts Fund, 2015; First prize, the 1st Circle Art Youth Award, 2015; Merit Award, Inward Gazes - Documentaries of Chinese Performance Art, Macao Museum of Art, 2008. Poems Published: So the River, A4 Contemporary Arts Center, Chengdu, 2013; Which Way to East, Qinghai Normal University, 2004