Internationale Architektur

Liu Ye
September 11 – October 23, 2021

Liu Ye

Prelude, 2018

Acrylic on canvas

40 x 30 cm (unframed)

42 x 32 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 4, 2019

Acrylic on canvas

35,5 x 27,5 cm (unframed)

37,6 x 29,7 x 4,2 cm (framed)

 

Centre:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 6, 2019

Acrylic on canvas

40 x 25 cm (unframed)

41,5 x 36,7 x 3,5 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Prelude, 2018

Acrylic on canvas

40 x 30 cm (unframed)

42 x 32 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 4, 2019

Acrylic on canvas

35,5 x 27,5 cm (unframed)

37,6 x 29,7 x 4,2 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 6, 2019

Acrylic on canvas

40 x 25 cm (unframed)

41,5 x 36,7 x 3,5 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Mrs. Schroeder, 2020

Acrylic on canvas

38 x 60 cm (unframed)

40 x 62 x 4,5 cm (framed)

 

Centre:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 30 (Internationale Architektur Bauhaus Bücher No. 1, Albert Langen Verlag, München, 1925), 2020

Acrylic on canvas

35,5 x 27,5 cm (unframed)

37,3 x 29,3 x 3,9 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 31 (Internationale Architektur Bauhaus Bücher No. 1, Albert Langen Verlag, München, 1925), 2020

Acrylic on canvas

32,5 x 24 cm (unframed)

34,5 x 25,8 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Liu Ye

Mrs. Schroeder, 2020

Acrylic on canvas

38 x 60 cm (unframed)

40 x 62 x 4,5 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 30 (Internationale Architektur Bauhaus Bücher No. 1, Albert Langen Verlag, München, 1925), 2020

Acrylic on canvas

35,5 x 27,5 cm (unframed)

37,3 x 29,3 x 3,9 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 31 (Internationale Architektur Bauhaus Bücher No. 1, Albert Langen Verlag, München, 1925), 2020

Acrylic on canvas

32,5 x 24 cm (unframed)

34,5 x 25,8 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Cuadra san Cristobal, 2020

Acrylic on canvas mounted on wooden panel

30,5 x 40,5 cm (unframed)

32,5 x 42,5 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Centre:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 22 (Karl Blossfeldt, Wunder in der Natur, H. Schmidt & C. Günther, Leipzig, 1942, Page 49), 2019

Acrylic on canvas

32,5 x 24 cm (unframed)

34,5 x 25,5 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 29 (Karl Blossfeldt, Wunder in der Natur, H. Schmidt & C. Günther, Leipzig, 1942, Page 47), 2020

Acrylic on canvas

32,5 x 24 cm (unframed)

34,5 x 25,5 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Liu Ye

Cuadra san Cristobal, 2020

Acrylic on canvas mounted on wooden panel

30,5 x 40,5 cm (unframed)

32,5 x 42,5 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 22 (Karl Blossfeldt, Wunder in der Natur, H. Schmidt & C. Günther, Leipzig, 1942, Page 49), 2019

Acrylic on canvas

32,5 x 24 cm (unframed)

34,5 x 25,5 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Book Painting No. 29 (Karl Blossfeldt, Wunder in der Natur, H. Schmidt & C. Günther, Leipzig, 1942, Page 47), 2020

Acrylic on canvas

32,5 x 24 cm (unframed)

34,5 x 25,5 x 4 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 8 (Triadisches Ballett), 2021

Acrylic on canvas

37,5 x 52 cm (unframed)

39,8 x 54,0 x 4,2 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 7 (Oskar Schlemmer as „The Turk“), 2021

Acrylic on canvas mounted on wooden panel

52 x 80 cm (unframed)

54,2 x 82,2 x 6 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 8 (Triadisches Ballett), 2021

Acrylic on canvas

37,5 x 52 cm (unframed)

39,8 x 54,0 x 4,2 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 7 (Oskar Schlemmer as „The Turk“), 2021

Acrylic on canvas mounted on wooden panel

52 x 80 cm (unframed)

54,2 x 82,2 x 6 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Left:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 3, 2017

Acrylic on canvas

25 x 40 cm (unframed)

27,3 x 42,0 x 4,8 cm (framed)

 

Centre:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 8 (Triadisches Ballett), 2021

Acrylic on canvas

37,5 x 52 cm (unframed)

39,8 x 54,0 x 4,2 cm (framed)

 

Right:

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 7 (Oskar Schlemmer as „The Turk“), 2021

Acrylic on canvas mounted on wooden panel

52 x 80 cm (unframed)

54,2 x 82,2 x 6 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Liu Ye

Bauhaus No. 3, 2017

Acrylic on canvas

25 x 40 cm (unframed)

27,3 x 42,0 x 4,8 cm (framed)

 

Exhibition view: Liu Ye, Internationale Architektur, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2021

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Internationale Architektur

Liu Ye
September 11 – October 23, 2021
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Esther Schipper is pleased to present Liu Ye’s Internationale Architektur, the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. On view will be twelve recent paintings, created between 2017 and 2021.


Among the motifs on which the exhibited works draw are the 1925 Bauhaus building complex by architect Walter Gropius in the German town Dessau, the Rietveld-Schroeder House designed in 1924 by the Netherlandish architect Gerrit Rietveld in Utrecht, and a 1968 equestrian estate built by the Mexican modernist architect Louis Barragán. Two works from 2021 depict figures wearing the iconic costumes the German artist Oskar Schlemmer designed for his experimental Triadic Ballet in the early 1920s, while another work, Prelude, also pictures a stage-like space, this one screened almost entirely by a red curtain from behind which a figure is looking out. Also on view are works from Liu Ye's series of book paintings, depicting pages from the 1942 edition of Karl Blossfeldt's Wunder in der Natur and the cover of the first publication from the so-called Bauhaus Bücher, Internationale Architektur, published in 1925.


Liu Ye’s work combines both direct and oblique references to the history of art to create a charged personal iconography that draws on real and imagined works of art, fictional and reallife figures. His work is informed by a sophisticated conflation of formal principles and conceptual ideas from both Asian and Western cultures. The recurring depictions of works quoting the Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian evoke the history of abstraction, a topic Liu Ye has explored throughout his recent work which plays on the ambiguity of representational and abstract motifs.


Each painting constitutes a deeply personal act. As Udo Kittelmann noted in 2018: Liu Ye’s “paintings are also a barometer of a time when the reference to the personal, the subjective, is becoming increasingly topical. And the subjective means our own lives, with all our problems big and small, the joys and fears, hopes and despairs. His pictures take us back to the origins of being and becoming human, provoking and moving us at the same time.”


Two works in reference to Oskar Schlemmer’s costume designs for his Triadic Ballet significantly expand the vocabulary of Liu Ye’s exploration of the Bauhaus curriculum. Taking Schlemmer’s famous costumes made from colorful geometric shapes as point of departure, Liu Ye imagines the figures in full color and places them in a stage setting. One depicts three faceless doll-like figures, another a single male, reading as real-life person, identified by the title as Schlemmer himself. Both scenes are framed by narrow bands of red curtains—a recurring motif in the artist’s oeuvre—complementing the impression of a stage and functioning as a framing device. With Prelude the red curtain takes center stage, almost covering the entire canvas as a lone male figure peers out at us from the shadows—“us” being the audience of a performance and the observer of the painting.


The Bauhaus is also the topic of two works from the artist’s series of book paintings that depict the first volume of the so-called Bauhaus Bücher, Internationale Architektur, published in 1925 by Walter Gropius. The book’s cover, designed by Farkás Molnar, appears slightly worn, perhaps as a tribute to the important role of the book as a cherished object of historical significance.


Three works draw on views of the façade of the 1925 Bauhaus building by Walter Gropius in Dessau and combine the artist’s interest in architecture with his ongoing preoccupation with the German school and its teachings (exported internationally long after the institutions closure due to National Socialist censure). Their geometric shapes appear almost as abstract compositions, tethered to representation by the lettering or, in one case, the fragment of the letter B. A detail of the Rietveld Schroeder House in a work entitled Mrs Schroeder exerts a similar effect: the nestled rectangles of windows, protruding balconies and handrails can be read as near abstract composition.


An architectural reference to the Mexican modernist architect Louis Barragán (1902-1988) is parred down even more dramatically: silhouetted against a bright pink wall stands a handsome bay horse. The work refers to the 1968 Cuadra San Cristóbal, a large estate with adjunct stables, the architect, who was an avid equestrian, designed. Barragán’s characteristic use of pink is all that alludes to the reference.


Book Painting Nr 22 and Book Painting Nr 29 depict book pages painted after Karl Blossfeldt’s highly influential photographs of plants. Characteristic of Liu Ye’s book paintings, it is both the haunting images of enlarged flowers by the avantgarde photographer and the beautifully printed photogravure edition of Wunder in der Natur from 1942 that we discover.


With its emphasis on found images and the muted color scheme reminiscent of vintage photography and prints, the exhibition seems to question the status of the image and its reproducibility. Painting here becomes a representation of stillness and contemplation, set outside of the rapidity of today’s digital image economy.

 

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