Artist eyes ambivalence, ambiguity and  awkwardness in new innovative exhibit

Berlin-based artist Liao Wenfeng recently opened a new exhibition at the Inna Art Space in Hangzhou.

Berlin-based artist Liao Wenfeng recently opened a new exhibition at the Inna Art Space in Hangzhou.

The core concept of the exhibit “Eyes Moving Pencil Moving Eyes” comes from the Chinese-born artist using his pencil to measure the proportions of an object.

In one of his expositions visitors will witness two pieces of GIF animation placed together. One features a pencil moving from one eye to the other, while the other features a motionless pencil but sees the head moving back and forth.


"One Farewell" (2018) by Liao Wenfeng

“When you measure an object with your pencil, you have to close one eye so you get an accurate image,” said the 34-year-old, whose work has been exhibited in Shanghai, Berlin, Bern and Yekaterinburg. “But we all know that the view coming from our left eye is different from that coming from the right one.”

And by not allowing his pencil to stop at any particular point, the ambivalence, ambiguity and awkwardness of the work reveals itself.

The ambivalence can be found almost everywhere in his GIF animation production of still life or animation-turned sketches.

In one small-sized sketch, which is an apparent reference to René Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), he draws a pipe where the smoke can be seen coming out of both ends. 

“I am deeply enamored by the paradox in language, images and movement,” Liao explained to Shanghai Daily. “The reason why they make you feel uncomfortable is just because you have an assumption for everything.”

"Homo Vitruvianus with Watermelons" (2018) by Liao Wenfeng

He also shows his talent in humoring the solemnity of a certain condition. He wheels a cemetery cross on a skateboard and covers the hands and feet of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” in watermelons.

His deft appropriation of pop cultural symbols renders that there are multiple interpretations to his work. In “One Farewell,” a puppet Pinocchio is seen lying on a coffin with a red blanket covering his body.

The surrealist painter René Magritte and the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi had a big influence on Liao as a young artist. But he has managed to use the best of their work and reinvent them into his own personal story.

Date: Through May 23 (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Address: Bldg 12, 139 Liuhe Rd

Admission: Free

A scene at the opening of the exhibition

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