Born 1974, Nantong Jiangsu, China
1996 – Graduated from Jiangsu Technical Teachers Institute, Fine Arts Faculty
2005 – Graduated from Paintings and Art Study Studio, China Art Institute, Beijing
‘Mao Missiles’ are one of the most instantly recognizable works by Liu Wei. These objects with a stretched distortion can be hilarious; yet at the same time contain darker historical references on China and her constant progression.
When viewing Liu Wei’s works from the front, the skipped brushwork and lines make them seem like ink and wash paintings. The images in these works are inenarrable and elusory. Is the artist expressing his thought in the abstract way? Or is there something else not found behind the images? When viewing these kinds of paintings for the first time, it is hard to understand them since we are used to viewing and understanding a picture from the front. When we cannot find a clear image in a picture, we often believe that the artist is deliberately mystifying the subject.
In fact, Liu Wei expresses his thought in another way in his works. From the side of his paintings, you will discover fantastical visions of famous historical politicians and movie stars. It is both amazing and surprising that they are so clear when we view them from the side and not from the front that we are used to.
Why is Liu Wei showing us images from a side view? Because the front view is not enough to express the artist’s complicated emotions towards life, and they have to find another way to express their true feelings which can’t be expressed from the typical front view. The generation of the visual image is closely related to perspective. Perspective not only can shorten visual phenomenon, but also can elongate visual phenomenon, so an image may bring us a different effect when we view it from different points of view. Liu Wei uses this theory in reverse to put stretched and deformed images on a picture to make the front view unclear, so that viewers have to change their point of view. This makes an interaction between the limited flat area and boundless 3D space, and realizes the shift and extension of images.
This transformation brings Liu Wei’s works a unique visual attraction, and it also illustrates his efforts to observe society and explore new practice. All his efforts are in keeping with the trend to develop contemporary art, and enrich the expression and experience of contemporary visual art.