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Liu Wei: Shadows, Seeming Real and Virtual

冯发韧 Feng Faren 2018-07-17 16:31


The shadow made by Liu Wei 's works using greasepaint, mixed with subtle color changes, is reminiscent of the critical point when light and dark meet at dawn or dusk, reflecting the area between the inside and outside of the exhibition hall and inciting a sense of curiosity. Two oil paintings named Cave on the exhibition wall before entering the door remind people of its subject, and encouraging the viewer to guess what kind of ‘cave’ lies within. The passageway blocks the audience from direct viewing, building anticipation for the moment when the exhibition hall is finally seen.


The meaning of Cave makes reference to Tao Yuanming’s 412AD fable, The Story of the Peach Blossom Valley, which details the chance discovery of an isolated utopia where inhabitants live in harmony with each other and nature: "The beginning part is very narrow and can only fit one person. After walking dozens of steps, it suddenly enlightens." It also appears to suggest Plato's ‘Allegory of the Cave’. Both lead people to a confined space, whether spiritual or physical, speculative or realistic. 


The work simulates the logic of planets in the universe in form and orbit, but it seems to be more abstract and cursory, even revealing the material's original appearance. If you know the past works of Liu Wei, you will find that some creative thinking is still preserved: the care for pose and posture and the hidden cosmic code, mathematical logic in Mystery in Mystery, the pursuit of the changing objects and the capture of critical points in Colors, and a visible representation viewing in What’s Seen is Mine. Of course, the idea is eventually shown in a logical and visual form. 


On one side of Period, five spherical cement balls hang from the top, and mirrors mounted on the ground are made up of the work Airflow. The cement spheres spin under the influence of rotary force and gravity, and pure pigments painted on the surface are scattered on the mirror, outlining their shadows. In the exhibition, the mutual care between Liu Wei’s works is obvious, and this time is no exception. The dynamics of the sphere, driven by mechanical and natural forces, is described as "airflow", which is in conjunction with the operation of Period. Compared with his previous works, Liu Wei reduced the concept of material in this exhibition, instead presenting a kind of theater and acting temperament in the exhibition hall. 


At the end of the show, the audience was brought into the world created by a work called Friendship. Road and traffic lights shot by handheld DV constantly blink, displayed hanging in three-sided display. Right across from this lies a globe on work table-like surface. After going through Shadows, the audience is brought back to reality - the lights of the city, a globe as a teaching aid, and the desk/tool table. It was like a dream, and when you wake from a dream, one can only use some fragments to review it. It's same in The Story of the Peach Blossom Valley: “The prefecture chief immediately sent people along with him to search for the marks he had made, but he got lost and could not find his way to the Peach Blossom Valley. Liu Ziji, a lofty hermit in Nanyang, heard the news and was interested in going to the Peach Blossom Valley. It didn’t happen, and soon he died of illness.” 


As cast members, the works also disappeared after performing their responsibilities. Presumably, only those who personally enter the Peach Blossom Valley can speak about the place. “The men in the Peach Blossom Valley told him, ‘it's not worth speaking about this place to the outside world.’” 

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