News: Liu Ding at Busan Biennale 2018: Divided We Stand

We are honored to announce that artist Liu Ding will participate in the “Busan Biennale 2018:
Divided We Stand”. Curated by Jörg Heiser and Cristina Ricupero. The theme of this biennial proposition is that of divided territories as it is reflected in artists’ work from around the world. Torn apart are not only territories – nations, or formerly ethnically connected regions, usually by war, colonization and/or hostile estrangement – but also, importantly, psyches. The exhibition will run from September 8, 2018 to November 11, 2018.
Liu Ding actively reflects on the links between culture, art and political power in the modern and contemporary history of China in his practice. He investigates into the historical process of contemporary discourses and thoughts through multiple perspectives. He has recognized the scarcity of methodologies and approaches both in art historical research and artistic practice. Thus he has taken a self-reflexive approach, studying the intellectual roots and construct of contemporary Chinese art by analyzing the lasting legacy of Socialist Realism in China’s contemporary culture. His work seeks to broaden possibilities for a deeper understanding of the historical formation of subjectivity in Chinese art.
At the Busan Biennale, Liu Ding presents Temporary Actor B, a monumental-sized oil painting. Based on his study of the imagery and the aesthetic principles of Socialist Realism that was a critical component of the Socialist culture, he commissioned a skilled painter to paint this large scale canvas that appears like a historical painting. Instead of depicting scenes glorifying the revolutionary history of Chinese Communist Party as a government-commissioned historical painting usually does, the subject of this painting is a collage of images of public sculptures erected in China from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. These sculptures were created as part of a nation-wide campaign to promote sports as a means of nation-building after the end of the Cultural Revolution. It conveyed an idealized image to be achieved as a collective goal, a creative trope typical of Socialist Realism. In this painting, the images of the figures in the public sculptures appear as recurring patterns on canvas. 
After the end of the Cultural Revolution, there were many oppositional stances to this problematic history in the contemporary art discourses in China. Emotionally and intuitively people rejected the ideology of the Cultural Revolution. Yet unconsciously most of the actions, narratives and thoughts were actually a continuity of the same logic. This problem had propelled Liu Ding to want to confront these existing gestures, behaviours and phenomena, employing and using all available aesthetic and intellectual devices and processes to represent them and to understand the intellectual origin of contemporary art and contemporaneity in China in his works.