Liu Ye

Liu Ye

Born 1974, China
Lives and works in Beijing

There is a stillness and tranquility about the painting of Liu Ye that is in marked contrast with the headlong rush for progress in modern day China. Liu Ye has appropriated the appearance of Pop Art and transposed it into something that is recognisably oriental. His paintings employ the apparent sentimentality of popular art and a flatness of imagery that owes a lot to the comic book. Liu Ye’s work has been described as adding a sardonic twist to the ‘cute factor’ although in much of his painting the cute merges with the erotic. Small children and cuddly rabbits, the main characters in Liu Ye’s paintings, shed an apparently innocent light on the viewer. Miffy, the well known children’s cartoon rabbit, has a fluffy presence that Liu Ye has recontextualised as high art through which the innocent character of a plaything is transmogrified into a bizarre and knowing fantasy. Elsewhere in his work Lui Ye’s high art references are clear. In paintings such as Boogie Woogie, Little Girl in New York, 2005 and Once Upon a Time in Broadway 2006, he has appropriated Mondrian’s compositions. In his painting International Blue 2006 (a clear reference to Yves Klein) two characters stand in what appears to be an art gallery. One, a prepubescent girl, the other a little rabbit, the rabbit studies the painting, the little girl studies the rabbit. An innocent scene is imbued with a sense of irony and loss.