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LIU Zhenwei biography | artworks | events

Li Zhenwei, born in northeast China in 1987, was trained from the age of five years old in traditional Chinese, as well as classical western, drawing and painting. Born in the computer age in a country coming of age, Li was also introduced to digital technology and access to the outside world through the World Wide Web. Over the years of study and life these two worlds collided in his art practice. Not content to rest on his traditional skills he searched within for a deeper means of expression that could make sense of the old and the new, a voice that would actually speak more clearly tohis questions of life, culture, and art in a rapidly changing contemporary world. He had already begun to move in this direction but during his years at CAFA he reduced his learned and observed information to the simplest of gestures, the dot (point, pixel, molecule). “Everything is made of dots, every line, shape, and mass,” “The dot holds all the possibilities and complexities of life and art,” says Li. His paintings are made with this simple gesture, points of paint of varying densities, extruded from a paint tube onto naked canvas, no brushwork needed anymore. One might say that his work is “abstract”and technically it is, but actually it is a new personal language that speaks of his experience as a unique young man growing up in these two disparate worlds. A quote from Aristotle is specifically appropriate to Li’s painting technique, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Li’s paint application decisions are not random, there are always rules, sometimes Li employs a system based on Pi, a transcendental number that never repeats and never ends, to determine the quantity and thickness of points and spaces. These various systems represent to Li the convergence of ancient Chinese philosophies of viewing the universe and life itself and today’s digitized media hyped environment. The seemingly mechanical application of row after row of 100’s and 1000’s of individual squirts of red paint on canvas all together surprisingly transcend themselves and attain a romantic tactile sensuality, a field of lush hypnotic red that beckons one to enter, taste, and touch.


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