Liu Zijian


Liu Zijian
b. 1956, Shashi, Hubei
Abstract ink-wash painter
Ever since his graduation in 1983 from the Department of Chinese Painting at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts, Liu Zijian has been experimenting with abstract ink-painting (see Modern Ink-Wash Painting). His early works, Net and Wall (1986), were shown at the Hubei Youth Art Festival (1986) and revealed his intention to focus more on ‘inkwork’ than on traditional ‘brushwork’. In 1988, he accomplished his Abstract Ink Painting series, one of which was reproduced in Jiangsu huakan, a magazine that was actively promoting contemporary art. His Escape was shown at ‘China Avant-Garde’ (1989), the largest exhibition of contemporary art in China in the 1980s.
His Floating Spirits, 1989 was exhibited at ‘I Don’t Want To Play Cards with Cézanne: Avant-Garde Art from China’ (1991) at the Asia-Pacific Museum in the USA. In 1992, Liu was transferred from the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts to South China Normal University, where he became an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts. In the second half of the 1990s, his abstract ink paintings were frequently shown at important international exhibitions: ‘An Exhibition of Modern Chinese Ink Painting’ at the Taiwan Art Museum (1994); ‘Returning Home: An Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Experimental Ink Painting’ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1996) and ‘China: 5000 Years’ (1998) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Like many artists of abstract ink painting, Liu Zijian tends to deconstruct traditional Chinese ink painting by borrowing elements from Western abstract painting. But unlike others who rely more or less on the brushwork, Liu prefers unconventional tools like grids and a broad paintbrush, and techniques like rubbing and printing, in order to create what he calls ‘a floating ink world’ on paper. Liu Zijian is currently Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the Art College of Shenzhen University, Guangdong.
(1993–7). Ershi shiji mo Zhongguo shuimo hua zoushi I, II, III (Trends in Chinese Ink-Wash Painting at the End of Twentieth Century, v. 1–3], Tianjin: Yangliuqing chubanshe.
QIAN ZHIJIAN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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