Born 1964 in Beijing, China.
Lives and works in Beijing.
|1998||Artist in Residence, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam|
|1994||MFA Bildende Kunst, Universität der Künste, Berlin|
|1986–1989||Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing|
|1984||School of Arts & Crafts, Beijing|
Solo Exhibitions (selection)
|2016||Mondriaan and Liu Ye, Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort|
|2007||Liu Ye, Kunstmuseum Bern|
Group Exhibitions (selection)
|2017||57th Venice Biennale|
|2015||The World in 2015, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing|
|2014||Re-View – Opening Exhibition of Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai|
|Yuz Collection of Contemporary Art, Yuz Museum, Shanghai|
|Hans van Dijk: 5000 names, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing|
|2013||Lightness – A Clue and Six Faces, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing|
|2012||In Time – 2012 Chinese Oil Painting Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing|
|Through All Ages, Opening Exhibition of Long Museum, Shanghai|
|2011||Future Pass – From Asia to the World, Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam|
Liu Ye’s work combines direct references to the history of art and oblique political connotations to create a charged personal iconography that draws on real and imagined works of art, childhood memories and reallife figures. The often bright colors add a deceptively lighthearted quality. A young boy dressed in a sailor suit, for example, recurred as a poetic stand-in for the artist. Yet, the boy himself combined contradictory attributes: cherub wings found in Western renaissance paintings and, in reference to Chinese politics, tinted spectacles with circular glasses. In particular, the recurring depictions of works in the style of the Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian evoke the history of abstraction, a topic Liu Ye has explored since 2007 in his series of Bamboo paintings, among others. These works combine the specific art historical associations with a plant depicted in Chinese ink drawings with compositions reminiscent of Western 20th century abstraction.
Liu Ye grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution. He has thematized the subject obliquely with stylistic references that invoke the aesthetics reminiscent of that period’s propaganda. At the same time, the cheerful colors and simply characterized figures invoke children’s books — a large influence which also has biographical roots, since the artist’s father was a graphic artist who illustrated children’s books.
His paintings can be in turn playful, erotic and mysterious but all show a deep knowledge of the history of art, both Western and Eastern.