Liu Jianhua, A Unified Core, 2012-2018, porcelain, variable dimensions © Liu Jianhua
Pace has unveiled an exhibition of sculptural installations by Liu Jianhua at its arts complex in Seoul. The presentation focuses on Liu’s mastery of porcelain, a material he has been experimenting with since 1977, when he began working as an apprentice in the Jingdezhen Pottery and Porcelain Sculpture Factory—the oldest established center of ceramic production in China. Significant series form the artist’s oeuvre are featured in his show in Seoul, including A Unified Core (2018); The Shape of Trace (2016–2022); Blank Paper (2009–2019) and Lines (2015–2019).
Through his works across sculpture and installation, Liu explores themes of accumulation and impermanence, using ceramics, found objects, artifacts, and detritus as means to examine to Chinese history and culture. His longstanding engagement with porcelain can be understood as part of centuries-old craft traditions in China. Liu also uses this material as marker of contemporary development within the context of globalization.
Liu Jianhua, Blank Paper, 2009-2012, porcelain, 200 cm × 100 cm × 0.7 cm © Liu Jianhua
The bodies of works included in Pace’s forthcoming exhibition underscore the artist’s increasingly philosophical approach to form and abstraction, which has characterized his practice in recent years. In 2008, the artist moved away from the sociopolitical themes that had previously informed his work, focusing instead on simple, pure forms to meditate on histories of visual culture in China. This approach has resulted in the sculpture series Blank Paper, in which thin sheets of white porcelain are hung on the wall, as well as the series Lines, for which the artist creates coiling ribbons of porcelain that intersect and collide at various points on the wall.
Liu’s 2018 installation A Unified Core, also on view in the show in Seoul, comprise approximately 500 white teardrop- shaped pieces of porcelain suspended from the ceiling. As viewers walk around the work, they experience an immersive environment that encourages deep, serene contemplation.
Liu Jianhua, The Shape of Trace, 2016-2022, procelain, variable dimensions © Liu Jianhua
Other highlights of the exhibition include the artist’s recent series The Shape of Trace, which serves as an investigation of various threads of human cultural development throughout history. Through its lyrical form, this porcelain work evokes the passage of time and the long arc of history. The material of this sculptural installation has great significance within the history of the artist’s own practice—as such, Liu’s use of porcelain for the work aligns with its conceptual focus on evolution and progress.
Liu will participate in the 14th Gwangju Biennale in Korea, which opens on April 7 during the run of his exhibition with Pace in Seoul.
Liu Jianhua (b. 1962) began his career in 1977 by working at the Jingdezhen Pottery and Porcelain Sculpture Factory. In 1985, he was admitted to the Fine Arts Department of the Jingdezhen Pottery & Porcelain College, majoring in Sculpture. After graduating in 1989, Liu went on to teach at the College of Fine Arts at the Yunnan Institute of the Arts. Since 2004, Liu has been a professor in the Sculpture Department of the Fine Arts School of Shanghai University. Creating sculpture and installations in porcelain, found objects, and other materials, Liu responds to Chinese culture and material history within the context of globalization.
About the Exhibition
Duration: Mar 31 – Apr 29, 2023
Venue: Pace Seoul
Address: 267 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Courtesy of Liu Jianhua and Pace Gallery.