BEIJING – “I don’t see making art as a question of creativity, because you can’t really create anything,” said artist Liu Wei in a widely read 2009 interview.“Everything already exists; it’s just a question of how you see it.”

liuwei_001_a劉韡《紫氣2014 NO.3》, 照片由劉韡工作室提供


How Liu Wei sees things is metaphorical, political, ironic and often irreverent – all by virtue of his upbringing during a time of rapid urbanisation and shifting values in post-Mao China. For one early work, the black-and-white photograph Looks Like a Landscape, he layered images of human buttocks to resemble a traditional Chinese scroll painting. The artist has often used found objects, as in Love It! Bite It! (2005), a model city of landmarks built from dog chews that equates the human appetite for power to the animal desire for food.

The Ullens will present a group of new sculptures, videos and paintings, the meaning and significance of which he declines to explain.

“What is important is not any deep meaning within, but its capability to get on a certain nerve of reality,” he says, “to usher in new thoughts, and to clear the path for a new image of life.” 

How Liu Wei sees things is metaphorical, political, ironic and often irreverent – all by virtue of his upbringing during a time of rapid urbanisation and shifting values in post-Mao China. For one early work, the black-and-white photograph Looks Like a Landscape, he layered images of human buttocks to resemble a traditional Chinese scroll painting. The artist has often used found objects, as in Love It! Bite It! (2005), a model city of landmarks built from dog chews that equates the human appetite for power to the animal desire for food.

The Ullens will present a group of new sculptures, videos and paintings, the meaning and significance of which he declines to explain.

“What is important is not any deep meaning within, but its capability to get on a certain nerve of reality,” he says, “to usher in new thoughts, and to clear the path for a new image of life.” 


Liu Wei: Colors will be held from 6 February to 13 April at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

Lead image: Liu Wei, Purple Air IV-2 (Diptych)

Liu Wei: Colors will be held from 6 February to 13 April at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

Lead image: Liu Wei, Purple Air IV-2 (Diptych)

Liu Wei: Colors will be held from 6 February to 13 April at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

Lead image: Liu Wei, Purple Air IV-2 (Diptych)

Liu Wei: Colors will be held from 6 February to 13 April at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

Lead image: Liu Wei, Purple Air IV-2 (Diptych)