PIFO Gallery is pleased to present artist Liu Zhan’s solo exhibition Illuminate on 19 March 2022. As the first collaboration between the artist and PIFO Gallery, it is a major exhibition of Liu Zhan as an independent artist after he left UNMASK. Curated by Feng Xi, the exhibition is composed of three sections of artworks created by the artist in the past 10 years. Without changing the spatial structure of the original works, Liu’s works have been placed into three spaces based on subject matter and form, which can be viewed separately; taking the exhibition as a whole, the context and internal logic remain in the exhibiting spaces.
Light and fire bring brightness and warmth to the world, guiding our way and illuminating the whole of creations and ourselves. Light converges to become eyes through which we discover the world; in the process, fire is the burning body and bones. All of us have incarnated as fire and light of youth—on the journey of discovering ourselves— having become the subjects and objects, to illuminate and to be illuminated.
As an artist, Liu Zhan has been silent for a relatively long time. In the past ten years, Liu Zhan held two solo exhibitions: “The Mysteries of Animal Reproduction” held at Magician Space in 2017 and “Balcony” exhibited at DRC No. 12 in 2018. Through the two exhibitions with distinctive ways of expression, Liu Zhan had shaken off the belief in methodology as the sole guidance. Meanwhile, other than focusing on the critical perspective of consumerism, the artist directed his attention to the interaction and alienation between individuals and society, which enabled his creative work to be remarkably diversified. As Illuminate is the first major solo exhibition of Liu Zhan as an independent artist, we may ask, is it a presentation of his sculptural works? Or is it a way of self-discovery and expression as a result of the artist’s ten years of “gaming”? Eventually, you will find answers to the questions at the exhibition.
—— Illuminate by Feng Xi
Liu Zhan was born in 1976 in Luoyang, Henan, China, Liu Zhan graduated from the Department of Sculpture at Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and established the art trio UNMASK in 2002. He lives and works in Beijing. After leaving the artist trio UNMASK in 2011, Liu Zhan initiated a new artistic exploration as an independent artist, creating a series of installations based on his own research, which includes videos, prints, ready-mades, and sculptures.
Feng Xi, As an amateur curator wandering in the edge of the system, Feng Xi has his awareness and practice that differs from mainstream curatorial thoughts and methods. He is adept at re-deconstructing the physical properties of space to transform a new exhibition language between space and artworks. He tries to weave it into the exhibition context to reshape the realistic relation and tries to master the understanding and output of the contextual relationship between exhibitions, which makes exhibitions independent of aesthetic exhibition logic and broadens the access to understanding exhibition language and presentation. Meanwhile, as a practitioner of independent art spaces, he has worked as the artistic director of DRC No.12, the director of The Bunker, and the exhibition director of Garage Experimental Space. He is now an artistic director of the One Way Art Gallery, Chen Gallery and the Huaigulin Contemporary Art Center. He is also an academic committee member and researcher of Beijing Inside-Out Art Foundation Zhao Wenliang Yang Yushu Art Center. In addition, he joined the practicing group Jiejue Community in 2017 and became one of the three group members with the identity and thinking of being both a curator and an artist, using exhibition as a method of creation and practice.