White Space opens Liu Xiaohui's “Hibiscus”featuring his latest paintings in Beijing


Installation View of Liu Xiaohui Solo Exhibition at White Space 06.jpg

Installation View of Hibiscus: Liu Xiaohui Solo Exhibition at White Space

An area of the Beijing Airport Expressway side road is covered by hibiscus bushes, which sway in the wind amidst the surrounding traffic, and I have kept a few white ones over the years. Hibiscus is austere, gentle, and natural and thrives in almost any environment. I hope my paintings embody hibiscus’ characteristics in approaching nature and austerity. In the rotation of the seasons, it continues to grow, showing its original posture and quality.

-Liu Xiaohui

Liu Xiaohui’s first solo exhibition at White Space, “Hibiscus,” will open on February 25, 2023, and run through May 3, 2023. This exhibition will present the artist’s latest paintings.

Rough lines render the forms of figures or objects, impasto stacks up to purified blocks of color, and repeated brushwork are evidence of the painter’s continuous thoughts and actions. Liu Xiaohui’s paintings often reveal the most mundane moments in life. These works come from life and are familiar to everyone’s daily experience. They are not mere mechanical reproductions of photographic images or reproductions of the external world but the artist’s exploration and representation of his inner world. Unlike previous solo exhibitions in which creative methodology was adopted as an epiphenomenon, in this exhibition, Liu Xiaohui intends to incorporate more tangible life experiences into his paintings.

LIU Xiaohui, Untitled—Hibiscus, 2020-2022, Oil on canvas, 150×120cm.jpg

LIU Xiaohui, Untitled—Hibiscus, 2020-2022, Oil on canvas, 150×120cm.

“The hibiscus flowers blossom in the garden; their glory befalls in the same morning.” He began raising hibiscus during the pandemic and sensed the power of nature in plants and their austerity. The hibiscus grows abiding by the law of nature, although its flowers vary in color, but are not bright and eye-catching. Despite its short flowering period, the plant seems to grow in any environment. Its body is graceful, dropping with the pull of gravity and swaying in the wind. The painter is most concerned with this law of natural growth in his current paintings. Subjects such as color, light, shape, form, composition, structure, and intention, Liu reflects continuously on these essential elements of the image that inform his feelings, thoughts, decisions, actions, states, and transformations. The emphasis is on regulation.

LIU Xiaohui, Untitled—Waterside-Reading, 2022, Oil on canvas, 200×220 cm..jpg

LIU Xiaohui, Untitled—Waterside-Reading, 2022, Oil on canvas, 200×220cm.

Instead of claiming the regulation of painting is the one for life, the medium of painting has become the way and means by which Liu Xiaohui discovers and understands the truth of life. Although his repetitive approximation of a particular motif is still evident, this approach, consistent in his practice, provides a path to generate better dialogues with his subjects. As a mode of thinking, a way to deeply understand a motif through repetition and explore its meaning from multiple perspectives. Or, in plain and simple terms, day-to-day life does not stage exaggerating theatricals, but the mundane. Repetition may be closer to the true nature of life and painting.

Installation View of Liu Xiaohui Solo Exhibition at White Space 05.jpg

Installation View of Liu Xiaohui Solo Exhibition at White Space 03.jpg

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Installation View of Hibiscus: Liu Xiaohui Solo Exhibition at White Space

More specifically, for Liu Xiaohui, the “truth” encapsulated in painting should reflect in its internal “accuracy.” This kind of accuracy manifests not only as formal “precision” but how every painting element “truthfully” assumes its roles and meanings on canvas, each in its own place. For this reason, his paintings exclude general social semantics: flowers should be flowers, reading is about reading, and the paintings are exclusively themselves, and to allow them to be themselves without further allusion. This is the process of removing falsehoods and preserving the truth.

About the Artist

Liu Xiaohui’s painterly practice attempts to discover the possibility of painting in the present from everyday life. He proposes subject matters and immerses himself in the riddles and fields of painting with colors, light, shapes, compositions, and intentions. He often returns to those seemingly similar painting motifs, whose in-depth explorations aim to extract the essence from the painting, removing the falsehoods and preserving the truth to emerge from the fog. His works on canvas connect the two ends of figuration and abstraction. Those life moments and details that move him provide his paintings an impetus and tangible shape, which grow into more profound and abstract imagination and potential through his repetitive rendering and discoveries.

Liu Xiaohui (b. 1975, Shandong Province, China) received his BFA from the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China in 1999. In 2010, he received MFA from the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China. Recent solo exhibitions include Hibiscus, WHITE SPACE (Shunyi), Beijing, China (2023); Liu Xiaohui: Détournement, A07 798 Art Zone, Beijing, China (2020); LIU Xiaohui: Movements, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing, China (2018); Liu Xiaohui: The Mystery of Sisyphus, Antenna Space, Shanghai, China (2015). His works have been widely exhibited in major institutions including Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing (2022); Wuhan Art Museum, Wuhan (2021); National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2015); CAFA Art Museum, Beijing (2013); Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2006). Liu Xiaohui currently lives and works in Beijing, China.

About the Exhibition

Duration: 02.25, 2023 – 05.03, 2023
Venue: White Space

Address: F1, BLDG D7, Yard No.3, Jinhang East Road, Shunyi District, Beijing 101316

Courtesy of the Artist and White Space.