On the afternoon of April 7, 2018, “Meet Drawing” Liu Libin Solo Exhibition commenced at Da Bao Tang. It is the first time for the artist Liu Libin to present his personal artworks created over the last four years, and a total of 11 groupings including 63 pieces were on display.
Liu Libin, who is engaged in the research of art history, is a teacher, curator and critic, and he had never drawn anything for 16 years from 1998 to 2014. However, it was an unexpected opportunity that he started to create, and he has drawn a piece every day from then on, and this exhibition offers the audience a chance to view his “everyday paintings”. It is jointly hosted by Da Bao Tang, First Cause Creative, and Yuehai Xinyu.
It is entitled “Meet Drawing”, which both refers to the technique of drawing that does not have a relationship with the art education in academies, and the records of moments at conferences and slices of life. The artist Liu Libin presents the interpretations of “Meet Drawing”: to encounter drawings, to meet friends in the name of drawing, drawing while participating in the meeting, and a state of “being unable to” draw.
When Liu Libin travelled to Shenzhen on May 14, 2014, he used his friend’s color chalks to freely draw on rice paper a cat hiding behind a curtain. He used the clear sun backlight and color contrasts to present a lazy and state of the cat at noon. Liu Libin, who had never drawn for sixteen years and had never been involved with the study of color, he began to realize that his curatorial experiences and the study of art history improved his visual perception. After he started drawing, he began to think of how he could make the picture more interesting. On the return trip, Liu Libin used a gel pen to draw on a blank sheet of paper when he was thinking of other things, and he created some pictures that inspired him to look for potential images in the disorganized lines, and also inspired him to use lines to explore his inner world. He has insisted on drawing a piece everyday over the four years, and it has formed the special artistic form of Liu Libin.
Rather than being purely an amateur artist, Liu Libin is also engaged in art research. He has given up the traditional forms of artistic creation. The rigorous thinking and aesthetic judgment criteria have been dispelled by the artist’s unconscious drawing, but Liu Libin’s works still have the narrative function of the form. The realization of this narrative function does not rely on abstraction or reproduction, and the artist does not portray “using” realistic and freehand style.
Liu Libin considers his drawing as a reflection of the inner heart. The use of the theory of Chinese painting to comprehend artistic creation, the process of drawing is a course of concentrating on the breath and removing the things that block the arteries, and it is associated with the experience that he has when sitting still for 6 years. Still sitting is a process of adjusting the physical and mental rhythm and is also a course for controlling drawing. And he has a new understanding of some key words on the theories of ancient paintings, such as “Exploring and Seeking the Personal Feeling in the Course of Experiencing Nature and Real Life”, “Spirit Resonance”, “Correspondence to the Object”, and the relationship between the work and people. And he gradually developed the “brushworks that mutually promote and constrain” as his technique of drawing.
Wang Yiqiong said Liu Libin’s drawings could be considered as “Chouyi Theory”, which avoids the discussion on the form between the abstract and representational paintings, and there is not any inevitable opposition and connection between the abstract and representational paintings. When the discussion on the abstract and representational paintings is challenged by the conceptual art, “Chouyi” is able to avoid this challenge, or directly leap forward. And it is easy to draw using this method.
The artist Liu Libin mainly uses gel pens and ink brushes. The handwriting of gel pens remain on the paper are different from the use of ink brushes on paper, and they are also different in the comprehension of painting. When he was drawing on paper, the hard gel pen point punctured the paper. When the first stroke was placed on a white sheet of paper, the paper’s spatial relationship was irreversibly changed and then the existing spatial relationship and the linear “structure” were destructed by the second stroke. In the process of drawing, the existing structure is actually destructed time after time. A stroke is the “destruction”. It is similar to Fontana who punctured the surface of his canvas, and it is also the creator’s wishes and needs, passionately destructing the object.
Liu Libin, who is an art historian and curator, has combined long-standing thoughts on art history and the ten-year practice of art research with his own artistic experience. He tries to return to the creative style of traditional Chinese paintings which is hidden in the thinking of modern and contemporary art history, in order to guide his own creation. With an identity of an artist, he adheres to the creative thought of “brushworks mutually promoting and constraining, objects mutually promoting and constraining”, naturally creating, perceiving images of the mind and using paintings to reflect on the self.
The exhibition remains on view till April 30, 2018.
Text and photo courtesy of the organizer, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO