Born in Beijing, Liu Wei is regarded as one of the most talented artists in the Chinese contemporary art milieu. With a major in printing, Liu graduated from Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989. He currently lives in Beijing. He has attended the 45th Venice Biennial, the Second Saint Paul Biennial and “Mao, Toward Pop” Exhibition in Australia in 1994. He has also attended Chinese New Artist Exhibition, Germany in 1995, and “China!” Exhibition, Germany in 1996, and “Made in China-Contemporary Chinese Art” Exhibition, Berlin, Germany in 1998.
In the early 1990s, Liu Wei and Fang Lijun created an artistic style known as “cynical realism.” What “cynical realism” focuses on is a reality in which the self is insignificant, largely stemming from the experiential reality of one’s self and one’s surroundings, poking fun at things that are supposedly “serious” and “significant.”
The works tend towards mockery of the outside world in an earnest assessment of the widespread sense of boredom and aimlessness in contemporary reality. There is no fixed direction or standardization in Liu’s works as they are all products of his own psyche. The style of the works changes almost annually and while his output is not excessively prolific, there is no repetition, each one is different from the last. He practices his art through a sort of purely natural artist’s intuition and that intuition derives from his own life experiences. Consequently his art comes off as genuine and trustworthy.
“When I paint I have great respect for my own inner feelings, using my own way and methodology in interpreting a scene as I see it and everybody can tell at a glance I painted it,” Liu says. “Only when a painter paints with real feeling can he stir the emotions of the viewer; and only then can beauty be discussed.”
He does not define himself through any particular geographical region or school of thought, smashing boundaries, shunning imitation, shunning deconstruction; he brings everything he possibly can to the table. His pursuit is of that sort of natural beauty that transcends Eastern and Western culture, causing those two artistic forces to tend toward a muddling as one while achieving unity in form and content. This sort of trans-globalism ultimately brewed up the one-of-a-kind Liu Wei style of art.