WHITE SPACE: "LIU Wentao | Breath" and A Special Screening Project for Vajiko Chachkhiani


On Friday, September 9, 2022, WHITE SPACE announced the opening of "LIU Wentao | Breath" in Caochangdi Space, featuring the artist Liu Wentao's fifth solo exhibition at White Space. The exhibition will run through Thursday, October 20, 2022.

Installation view, LIU Wentao_Breath, WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi), Sep 9-Oct 20, 2022. Courtesy the artist and WHITE SPACE

Using a pencil to draw straight lines is at the core of Liu Wentao’s painting practice lasting more than a decade. This consistency, like breathing, is as commonplace as critical to the essence of existence. Breathing is one of the few functions of the human body that can be consciously controlled or unconsciously performed. Liu Wentao maintains the same rational, precise and confident construction of lines in his paintings, rendering a sensibility with straightforward and inestimable power in the final presentation.

Straight lines may seem simple, although the length and thickness of each line, the density, and the angle between them shape thousands of variations and the artist's expression of thought, just as the lightness and rhythm of one’s breathing can reveal a person's state of being and state of mind. The line is the semantic element in Liu Wentao's art practice, and its variations as a grammar, under the artist's precise control, countless lines intertwined on the canvas. The spacing and intersection of the lines form dense darkness, the changing gray and the empty white space, and together they form planes, construct depths, and establish a system that delivers a will. Each painting by Liu Wentao is like carving out one of the gazillions of possibilities from the infinitely overlapping lines, which are forever inexhaustible.

As always, each work is titled "Untitled," so we cannot refer to a specific painting by a name. The inability to name them conclusively allows for inclusivity, which becomes the most accurate definition of Liu's paintings. Looking at each work at varying distances, the lines fade or appear, and people’s interaction with each painting in the space offers different dynamics and rhythms on the still surface. Two points form a line. Although Liu Wentao's unique way of painting and framing, the endpoints are often invisible: all lines have no beginning or end, like an eternal sigh that stretches far and wide.

Installation view, LIU Wentao_Breath, WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi), Sep 9-Oct 20, 2022. Courtesy the artist and WHITE SPACE

Liu Wentao (b. 1973, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China) studied at the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and the Art Department of the University of Massachusetts (Boston). Recent solo exhibitions include Liu Wentao, Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China (2018); Meta, WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi), Beijing, China (2018); Liu Wentao Works, ZAN art museum, Qingdao, China (2015); Xuan, WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi), China (2014); Light and Shadow, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2012). Recent group exhibitions include The 4th Chinese Printmaking Exhibition, China Printmaking Museum, Shen Zhen, China (2020); Étude, Aranya Art Center, Beidaihe, China (2020); Becoming, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2018); The world is yours, as well as ours, White Cube, London, UK (2016); Art Project 24: Naissance, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2015); New Generation of Abstract Art, Sishang Art Museum, Beijing, China (2014). Liu Wentao currently lives and works in Beijing, China.

Meanwhile, a special screening project for Georgian artist Vajiko Chachkhiani was announced as well, featuring 15 video works of varying genres created between 2006 and 2021 at Caochangdi space on September 9, 2022, through October 20, 2022. It is also noticeable that Chachkhiani's first solo exhibition in China, Finger, Fist, and Thumb Sucking, will open on September 17, 2022, at Shunyi space, exhibiting his latest video, sculpture, installation, and painting works. Detailed information will be announced later.

Installation view, Vajiko CHACHKHIANI_Videos, WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi), Sep 9-Oct 20, 2022. Courtesy the artist and WHITE SPACE

Vajiko Chachkhiani operates somewhere between the outside world and the human psyche, bringing the shadowy aspects of our conditio humana (human condition) to awareness through subtle and intriguing visual poetry. Frequently based on performances or transformative actions, many of his sculptures have an affinity to minimalism. At the same time, they are charged with narrative meaning. Through sculptures and installations, he seeks to address psychological conditions such as loneliness, violence, and angst, weaving them with topics from religion, politics, literature, and poetry. Reoccurring themes in Chachkhiani’s work are conflict, culture/nature, and the oscillation between the outer reality and the inner life of the individual being. Chachkhiani's work includes films, sculptures, performances, photographs, and large-scale installations.

Vajiko Chachkhiani (b. 1985 in Tbilisi, Georgia) lives and works in Berlin and Tbilisi. He studied at the University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin, with Prof. Gregor Schneider until 2013. Previously, he studied Mathematics and Informatics at the Technical University of Tbilisi.His solo exhibition includes: Lower than the Sky, Kunstmuseum Brandts, Odense, Denmark (2021); Heavy Metal Honey, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, Germany (2018); Many Lives Passing Through While Imitating Death, Kunsthaus Dahlem, Berlin, Germany (2015); Both, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Germany (2014). His works were also presented at NIRIN – The 22nd Biennale of Sydney, various venues, Sydney, Australia (2020); A Good Neighbour, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany, in cooperation with Istanbul Biennale (2018); Wieder und Wider, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2018); WAITING. Between Power and Possibility, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2017). In 2017, his work "Living Dog Among Dead Lions" was shown in the Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Chachkhiani was nominated for the Kunstpreis Böttcherstraße 2018, and he received Villa Aurora Fellowship in Los Angeles and a Residency Grant Tokyo in 2018, and the Rubens Promotional Award in 2017.

Edited by CAFA ART INFO.

Courtesy the artist and WHITE SPACE.

About the exhibition

Liu Wentao_Breath_WHITE SPACE.pngLIU Wentao | Breath

WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi)

9.9-10.20, 2022

Vajiko-Chachkhiani_Videos_WHITE-SPACE.pngA Special Screening Project for Vajiko Chachkhiani

WHITE SPACE (Caochangdi)

9.9-10.20, 2022