Exile in Existence-
Liu RuiZhao's Paintings
Curator: Tony ChangOil painter Liu Ruizhao captures bizarre life moments in dramatic lighting. Dressed in ridiculous casual night-suits, the tedious life routines of his characters are dramatized and mystified. Their adolescence, hidden safely in the darkness, is suddenly exposed. Gazing out at the viewer, they are shocked and dumfounded. Liu has magic in his visual imagination, making up his own narrative scenarios, always mysteriously alluring.
Liu Ruizhao sets his sights on investigating human beings rather than focusing on social issues. In his works, sharp and strong lights emphasize the major figures while details are hidden in the shadows. This way of using lighting strengthens the formation of the whole picture and weakens any distraction from the details. The action of the body is frozen, reflecting a sense of ceremony. In his early works, there are strong symbolic meanings, revealing the loneliness of individuals and their inside eagerness for hope in life. His recent works have a much more solemn sense of mystery. The once sensible symbolism is replaced by vagueness. His paintings reduce the marks of any particular point in time while they enhance a dramatic power which is lasting and deep. Some of his works remind us of the old classical paintings of past centuries, but their spirit is contemporary and intense.
Adolescents were a common theme for Balthus, who was known for paintings of equivocal figures, very young women in poses or situations that were regarded as enigmatic or suggestive or both. Often these subjects were caught between dreams and waking. Liu's adolescents are quiet in their daydreaming and more mysterious.
For Liu, artworks are the artists' broken limbs cut from their bodies. As an independent language, painting is unspeakable and hard to explain. He thinks all his works carry the weight of our times and human spirits, and that the quality of each painting should match its significance. Liu values the meaning of his paintings rather than simply showing off his techniques. Metaphysically, his works demonstrate his ambition in building up his own universe.
His drawing procedure is a tough struggle between anxiety and depression, accompanied by insomnia and nervous thought. He revises his works again and again on the canvas; numerous layers of drafts are hidden under the final painting.
Liu regards himself as a spectator of reality, getting involved but
staying independent. His vision and commitments to his art are invaluable
against today's superficial social atmosphere.
A sense of drifting apart which is flashy, dislocated and twisted has been grabbing and swallowing me these years. Like an insect crawling on sensitive skin, the feeling is uncomfortable though fading away quickly.
today's society, I feel increasingly lonely. A sense of escaping is
becoming strong and intense. I am pessimistic but haven't given up
the hope of living. Absurd ideas and situations come up continuously,
sometimes like walking beside abyss, sometimes ludicrous. Realizing
these ideas on my canvases, I don't have particular comments. I record
those ideas in my works, purely recording and not intentionally expressing
anything. They reflect my whole life and thoughts.
Liu RuiZhao has his own language and thoughts in his works. On seeing his works for the first time, Balthus is the name appearing in my mind. Liu maintains the humor and atmosphere from everyday life. Where does the sense of mystery in his paintings come from? His lighting is not like lights on Rembrandt's works, which is mysterious, holy and purified. Lights on Liu works are sudden and unexpected, keeping surprises and interests from daily life.
first impression of Liu RuiZhao's works is mature
and has its styles, eye-catching and distinctive. You can feel the
influence by Chinese traditional culture on his works. With contemporary
relevance, the paintings are nostalgic. From composition, shape,
color to lights, his works are expressive like on a stage. The figures'
narrow and long eyes and dark eyeballs speak out a sense of mystery