Past Exhibition | Antenna Space

LIU DING: Lake Washington

Duration: 2014.03.29 - 2014.05.15
Hours: 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM
Artist:  LIU Ding
Address: 202, 50 Moganshan Rd, Building 17, Shanghai, China
ANTENNA SPACE is delighted to present "Lake Washington”, the first solo exhibition of Beijing-based artist LIU Ding in Shanghai. This will be a showcase of his latest series around the project that he has been working and doing research during the last two years. This project works around the working tradition and artistic consciousness of “socialist realism”, through watching and discussing art creation by the creation of art, LIU brings the organization and logic that form and limit it to the foreground. In LIU Ding’s practice, the organization and ideology of art history, and the experience, habit and consciousness given by it have been the core of his discussion.  His works make queries to them restlessly and always desire to describe their inner face once and once again. He is never satisfied with the fundamental works that have been done already. And by relocating himself back to the context and self-describing, this unsatisfactory is not limited to irresponsible criticism, but more of openness and preparation to any danger that comes along - it exposes the basis of his doubt together with himself. 

The title, Lake Washington, came from two photographic works named Lake Washington in the exhibition, which were taken by the artist during a trip to the U.S. It was in 2012 that LIU Ding visited Seattle for the first time. During his stay there, he found out that Lake Washington was not at all in Washington, but in Seattle. Although local friends kept telling him this fact, he realized that it was a “misunderstanding” that he had never cared to correct. When touring around the lake, he captured scenes of romantic leisure of the white middle-class: yachts on the lake, girls in bikinis enjoy sun bathing, mild pets, etc. Then he was aware that comparing to happy scenes stubborn consciousness lingers longer. Entitled with the name of this work, exhibition Lake Washington is going to display “two forms of realism”, showing the interlaced reality and our chaotic consciousness and experiences.

Several forms of travelling notes mixed here in this space, one of which is what LIU Ding saw and thought of during his trips. The latest piece Carl Marx in 2013 was inspired by the artist’s experience of visiting Marx’s grave in North London at the end of 2013. On the way there, LIU Ding encountered a group of tourists from China. The interaction both between LIU Ding and them, they and Marx’s grave became the content of this piece. Being away from China, but right in front of the grave of Marx in a west country, LIU experienced a little conflict over the pattern of behaviour driven by ideology. And the inevitableness and confliction here were much stronger than a planned scene. While The Corner of Herald Spring Flower Mountain was initiated from another experience of his coming across with Engel’s former residence as walking through a block with strong atmosphere of middle-class lifestyle.

Evidence and A Story Told to Me by Wang Luyans were originated from the artist's personal experience of encountering and revisiting the art history through facing up and describing the past to shed lights on our positions today. Evidence is a collage, juxtaposing published articles on magazine Fine Arts from the 70s to the 90s, his earlier works, and his collection of unknown artists. It forces us to reexamine and reassess the words, information and visual clues that have shaped our experience and consciousness of art. A Story Told to Me by Wang Luyans touches again the topic that what is the basis of understanding art. Once at WANG's place, LIU was moved by WANG's collection of artworks that were done after Cultural Revolution in the 70s. This impelled him to represent the work through reimaging and recreating in his own way. This act of representation was not about copying details of the original, but about the retelling process – he deliberately described it and finished it with other people’s perceptions after it and their hands. In the end, this piece was completed by drawing on a bed sheet and hanging up with a clothesline. It is said that learning of this work, WANG Luyan sent the original picture to Liu, so that the two works of different time and space would meet. LIU Ding later included the original image as a part of the installation, accomplishing the conversation with art creation through the creation of art.

The four oil paintings shown in the exhibition were all done in a “socialist realistic” way of subject depiction. One is a pile of huge dusk coal with a black background, another shows white roses in a white vase in front of a white setting. And the other two form a piece of work that in the left showing the image of two topless men intend to harm each other with silver strips pattern in the background, while in the right there is a pot with one and only yellow chrysanthemum fulfilling the whole picture. These paintings are not forks of LIU Ding’s creation, but emerge from the desire to examine the tradition of “socialist realism” again. It is said by the artist that, “ The evacuation of art during the Cultural Revolution is not only a problem limited to the its visual appearance, but a symptom of what political legacy and logic that social politicization of art had left to the narration of art and art history and the art industry. 
And the current doubt and resistance to these, in my point of view, is not enough. Therefore, I pick up this form of art again, practise the “socialist realistic” style of painting and begin with the evacuated legacy of art in the Cultural Revolution. By making an actual cavity into a signal, I intend to reflect the political logic that has parasitized in the discourses of art and art history from Cultural Revolution and onwards.”

In his recent works, LIU Ding often engages with historical narration and conceptual expression via proper choice or designated works. The way he understands as working as a creator is micro, organic, indescribable, vivid and contextual. One of the works displayed in the exhibition is The Adventurer,a collage of the memorial pictures of others taken during trips usually at a mountain top or a certain iconic attraction, which also works as another self-narration of the artist.

Liu Ding was born in Changzhou, Jiangsu province in 1976. He’s now based in Beijing and is both an artist and a curator. His work has been shown at a number of art institutions including the Tate Modern, Turner Contemporary, both London, UK; Arnolfini – Contemporary Arts Center, Bristol, UK; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; the São Paulo Muse­um of Art, São Paulo, Brazil; the ZKM, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe (ZKM), Germany; the Centre PasquArt, Biel, Switzerland; the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy; the Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; the Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, USA; the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, USA; the Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, China; and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, China. He took part in the 2012 Taipei Biennial, the exhibition at the Chinese Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennial, the 2008 Seoul International Media Art Biennale, and the 2005 Guangzhou Triennial. With Carol Yinghua Lu, he exhibit­ed Little Movements: Self-Practice in Contemporary Art in September 2011 at OCT Contemporary Art Termi­nal, Shenzhen, China. In 2013, the work went on tour and was exhibited at MUSEION in Bolzano, Italy. In 2012, Liu Ding served as a curator of the Seventh Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale – Accidental Message: Art is not a System, not a World. Works which he has written and published include Little Movements: Self-practice in Contemporary Art (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2011), Little Movements II: Self-practice in Contemporary Art (Walther König, 2013), Accidental Message: Art is not a System, not a World (Lingnan Art Publishing House, 2012), and Individual Experience: Conversations and Narratives of Contemporary Art Practice in China from 1989 to 2000 (Lingnan Art Publishing House, 2013).