Liu Zijian is one of the most important leading artists of the experimental ink painting movement in the 1990s.
His works have participated in many important exhibitions at home and abroad and are widely collected by domestic and foreign art museums, art institutions, collectors and enthusiasts. He has made outstanding contributions to the innovation and academic discussion on the subject of the language of ink painting. In his works, he strives to create a landscape full of collisions and ruins. The ink language is broad and magnificent. His paintings, unlike others who rely on the brushwork, reflect use of unconventional tools like grids and a broad paintbrush and techniques like rubbing and printing, in order to create what the artist calls ‘a floating ink world’ on paper.
'I have too much obsession or even awe of ink and wash, but it is undeniable that my ink and wash practice has deviated from its tradition. I can only live in my own time: a civilization originated in three thousand years history and at the same time undergoing step by step assimilation by the West. This makes the development of modern ink painting a challenging process. I think that the East is a kind of place that mixes traditions and the present.
I love black color, based on the idea of engulfing or hiding. This is the irresistible power and mystery described by the black hole theory of modern cosmology. It fits my understanding of the starry sky and the flesh. What the sky interprets above us is a kind of sacred nobility, the small and tragic end of an individual life, but it is just a little bit of pain or helplessness on the tip of the human heart.
I define my ink painting in terms of "black space" and "time fragments", which began in 1994's "Time Fragments in Black Space". If space symbolizes the existence of emptiness and infinity, then the fragments express the finiteness and fragility of life. Since then, "black space" and "time fragments" have become the objects of my ink and wash visualization, opening up the channel with '楚' art. (楚 Chu: A country, and culture at Spring and Autumn times and the Warring States period on ancient China)
The patterns of Chu and Han lacquerware and the circular or looping traces in the astrological chart fascinated me. This yearning for mystery and change, with the continuous development and change of life circumstances, has been given a profound meaning, creating a landscape of fragmentation, collision, and floating in the picture.
The magnificence and vastness of Chu art based on a vast spatial structure, which makes me feel deeply about the shrinking spiritual strength and visual tension caused by the lack of spatial awareness, which is common in contemporary Chinese painting. Aroused my great enthusiasm to reconstruct the grand space.