The Cleveland Museum of Art collaborates with the Museum of Contemporary Art (moCa) Cleveland to mount the first solo US museum exhibition by internationally renowned artist Liu Wei (Chinese, b. 1972). Works by Liu Wei will be presented concurrently at both institutions, offering an expansive view of the artist’s diverse artistic practice.
The CMA’s presentation centers on Panorama No. 2 (2015–16), a recent gift to the museum by Mr. Richard Jeschelnig and Mrs. Michelle Shan Jeschelnig. The monumental diptych exemplifies a technical shift the artist introduced into his work in 2010, when he began using computer software to generate patterns of pixels that are converted onto canvas and subsequently filled with color. The semiabstract imagery of Panorama No. 2 recalls the vast skylines of megacities like Beijing. At the same time, the oscillating pattern of gray, orange, purple, and yellow generated by the software removes the work from functioning primarily as a social or political commentary. Instead, the painting’s abstract quality is so strong that it becomes unclear whether the viewer is looking at a landscape or a purely abstract pattern. Its complex architectural imagery comes off the wall into real space through a series of large-scale representations of architectural monuments made from animal edibles, primarily oxhide.
Liu Wei is among China’s most well-known contemporary artists, but his work has not been thoroughly contextualized for Western audiences. As part of a generation of artists whose careers emerged during a period of rapidly accelerating urbanization, his work explores the rigidly controlled social and political contradictions of modern Chinese society. Working with ready-made objects as well as a range of diverse media including photography, painting, sculpture, and installation, Liu Wei is known for crystallizing the visual and intellectual chaos of China’s myriad transformations. He frequently uses geometric and architectural forms in his work as a reference to his urban surroundings. These themes will be on view as part of moCa’s focused presentation of the artist’s oeuvre, which includes existing and new work.
Liu Wei lives and works in Beijing and graduated in 1996 from the National Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, China. His work has been in numerous exhibitions at international venues including: PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014); and Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2011).