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Liu Weijian: Farewell My Country


When we look at Liu Weijian's work, we are aware that the under the beauty of the image are a number of dull, boring everyday life themes. This imbalance causes a disturbing pressure as the work us to another level of thinking.  Both his paintings and themes speak to the anguish of modern man.  There is something unsettling and uncanny in both his paintings and his drawings.  They suggest that there is much more at stake than that which is visible to the eye.  He elaborates on the notion of space, both interior and exterior, and how such spaces seem to construct their own intriguing narrative.  The places he paints include new industrial buildings and run-down generic habitats and all are laden with anonymity and vastness.

In his paintings and drawings, he expresses his experiences of past years and of life in China, and experiences of education, work and traveling workers.  If we leave a place, time passes, and the landscape changes, and when we return to it, is it really the place we left? As we grow older, and our experiences in the real world expose us to more of life's hardships and injustices, we may look with fond nostalgia to the past.  Rather than looking forward to a better life, to an idealized utopian future, nostalgia locates that better life in the past.  Nostalgia may be a longing for a life we fondly imagine to be more satisfying or complete, or a life when things were simpler and we were all better off.  But for artists, nostalgia may also constitute a more critical stance as a form of critique of the present and be tinged with a melancholy sadness for things that might have been or never were.  So it is with all our travels.  Every journey we make takes place in both space and time so that we can never fully re-trace our steps.

Liu Weijian's works seem touched by these melancholy feelings.  Many are painted in cool and dark colors and represent things that are the same time cold and poignant, strange and close, far away and familiar.  This sense is similar to that of the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami who helps us to read not just what is written but also that which is between the lines.  With his cold touch, Liu Weijing's work deals with many of the current issues he and his contemporaries think about daily and creates a feeling of constant movement and of unfinished business.

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