Liu Ye: Naive and Sentimental Painting

Art Show: 10/10/2023 • 10:00–18:00 • London

Event Details

David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Chinese artist Liu Ye (b. 1964), on view at the gallery’s London location. This will be the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery, and the first time his work has been shown in London since 2002. In the exhibition—the title of which playfully references John Adams’s 1999 symphony Naive and Sentimental Music, itself an allusion to Friedrich Schiller’s 1795–1796 essay on poetic theory—Liu examines the art-historical legacy of portraiture and the formal possibilities and nuances of the painted surface, wielding a technical sophistication that rivals the precise brushwork and paint handling of European old masters, such as Jan van Eyck and Antonello da Messina. In a suite of starkly lit and intimately scaled canvases, Liu captures some of his most enduring artistic and literary influences—such as Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, and Miffy the cartoon rabbit—as well as portrait-like closeups of flowers from the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt, while also casting a broad, meta-referential eye across his own painted oeuvre. Refined and finely detailed in their facture, the works on view present a new turn in Liu’s practice toward a mode of portraiture that is meticulous yet multivalent, and introspective yet expansive.

The show runs until 11 November 2023.