Solo exhibition telling a story
A solo show by Chinese painter Liu Ye is in full swing at Prada Rong Zhai, a century-old house on Shaanxi Road N. Themed “storytelling,” the exhibition presents 30 paintings the artist has produced since 1992.
The contemporary painter is best known for his colorful, stylized images of children with a big head, round face and thin body, looking sweet and innocent. However, the painter is telling a totally different story through the bright, cheerful hues.
One of his most famed series is the Chinese female celebrities he started to paint after 2002.
Pop singer Teresa Teng (1953-1995), under Liu’s brushes, has rosy cheeks in a red shirt with a pinky backdrop. She is smiling, holding a bunch of flowers, but tears well up in her eyes. Teng was one of China’s most influential and legendary singers, but she died lonely in a hotel room at Chiangmai in Thailand.
In another cartoon portrait featuring movie star Ruan Lingyu (1910-1935), the actress, in a deep blue qipao dress, is smoking elegantly, while squinting into the distance. Wreaths of smoke curl up in fanciful whirls and half-block her melancholic face.
Confronted by various public rumors, the actress poisoned herself at the age of 24, leaving a suicide note saying “gossip is a fearful thing.”
“Who can completely control his or her own fate in this world?” The painter said when interviewed.
Maybe what Liu is trying to do is to prick the sweet bubble of a fairy tale and present the tough, cruel, true world.
In addition, the exhibition displays some of Liu’s renowned works, such as book painting, bamboo and self-portraits, among several others.
Liu Ye “Storytelling”
Date: Through January 20, 11am-5pm
Tickets: 60 yuan
Venue: Prada Rong Zhai
Address: 186 Shaaxi Rd N.