Working primarily in porcelain, Liu Jianhua’s personal affinity with the traditional medium sprung from fourteen years of training at the imperial kilns of Jingdezhen. By creating new forms in this ancient material, Liu brings into question the contemporary Chinese artists' relationship with cultural heritage.
Liu Jianhua’s delicate porcelain installations possess aesthetic beauty, placing strong emphasis on form and material. Liu stands away from the prevailing styles in contemporary art; that of social commentary and narrative approaches and favours a “no meaning, no content” approach which signals an innovative direction in contemporary art creation.
“The title of the exhibition is meant to express the abstract idea of the relationship between the works and the space, the viewers, and between the two different cultures of tradition and modernity. “ Liu Jianhua, October 2015.
Liu’s installations create a perfect balance between objects and space, giving the viewer free reign to explore their own ideas. He transforms paper, leaves, bones and ink drops into curious and fragile porcelain sculptures.
The artist’s Blank Paper series, included in the exhibition, consists of white porcelain rectangles which at first glance appear to be blank sheets of paper. Upon closer inspection, the viewer becomes attuned to a surreal atmosphere that vibrates from the coiled corners of the fragile ceramic sheets.
In Trace, first exhibited at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, Liu appropriates a Chinese calligraphic stroke, the “wulouhen” — stains caused by leaking roofs — and reproduces it repeatedly in gleaming black trails of porcelain. The work treats the white walls like a blank canvas, there to support Liu’s porcelain brush strokes.
Liu Jianhua’s work is included in the current group exhibition Reshaping Tradition: Contemporary Ceramic from East Asia at the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. He has also been commissioned to produce an installation for the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco which is scheduled to be unveiled in March 2016.