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Liu Ye

China (Beijing, China 1964 )
YE LIU Killing Me Softly

Sotheby's /Oct 2, 2016
346,632.92 - 577,721.53
591,360.00

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Artworks in Arcadja
339

Some works of Liu Ye

Extracted between 339 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Liu Ye - Leave Me In The Dark

Liu Ye - Leave Me In The Dark

Original 2009
Estimate:

Price: Not disclosed
Lot number: 29
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
LIU YE (CHINA, B. 1964) Leave Me in the Dark signed, numbered, and dated '7/10 Ye 09', signed in Chinese (lower right); titled 'Leave me in the dark' (lower right) lithograph 75 x 101.5 cm. (29 ½ x 40 in.) Executed in 2009 edition 7/10 Provenance: Private Collection, Asia Lot Notes SHIPPING TO MAINLAND CHINA Please note that we are unable to facilitate shipments to Mainland China online, but would be happy to provide an offline shipping quote. To register for the sale, please provide a shipping address outside of Mainland China. Clients who successfully win a lot and who would like to receive an offline quote for delivery to Mainland China should contact us by email at
Liu Ye - Mondrian In The Afternoon

Liu Ye - Mondrian In The Afternoon

Original 2001
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 1054
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Liu Ye MONDRIAN IN THE AFTERNOON B. 1964 signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated 2001 acrylic on canvas 160 by 160 cm; 63 by 63 in. Provenance Private Asian Collection Huachen Auctions, Beijing, 23 April 2002, lot 43 Private Asian Collection Sotheby's, London, 27 February 2008, lot 67 Acquired by the present owner from the above sale Literature Yin Ji Nan, A Close Look at Contemporary Chinese Culture and Art: Knocking at the Door Alone, Joint Publishing Co., Beijing, China, 2002, p. 4 Liu Ye, Liu Ye: My Own Story, Gallery 3, 2003, p. 123 Liu Ye Catalogue Raisonné 1991-2015, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, Germany, 2015, p. 294 Catalogue Note "The appearance of Mondrian's paintings within my own paintings is spiritual. His paintings are so simply conceived with the most basic colours and vertical and horizontal lines. I am also addressing the question of simplicity" Liu Ye In Dialogue with Mondrian Liu Ye This past June, a major exhibition was held at the Mondrian House in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, of the work of Liu Ye, China's most renowned contemporary artist. The exhibition offered a retrospective of the artist's comprehensive understanding of art and his aesthetic dialogue with Mondrian. As a youth, Liu Ye studied at the Berlin University of the Arts in Germany, and he has long been influenced by Dutch artists. Reflections of Mondrian's painting style, with its rigorous straight lines and balanced quadrilateral compositions, began to appear in Liu Ye's artwork early in his career, and eventually become an important visual element of his paintings. Completed in 2000, Mondrian in the Afternoon (Lot 1054) is one of a set of three paintings that draw on Mondrian's style of composition and are respectively set in the morning, noon, and afternoon parts of the day. Mondrian at Noon has been collected by the Long Museum in Shanghai, and Mondrian in the Morning remains in the private collection of the artist, demonstrating Liu Ye's particular fondness for these paintings and the importance he attaches to them. Mondrian in the Afternoon is the only painting of the three that is held in a private collection. Liu Ye once said, "The appearance of Mondrian's paintings within my own paintings is spiritual. His paintings are so simply conceived with the most basic colours and vertical and horizontal lines. I also wish to address the question of simplicity". Indeed, Mondrian's influence on Liu Ye is profound and far-reaching. In Boogie Woogie (self-portrait), a painting from 1992, only the second year of Liu Ye's creative career, we already see the artist's use of Mondrian's painting as a background. Subsequently, Mondrian often reappeared on Liu Ye's canvases, including Self Portrait with Mondrian, which is featured in the current exhibition, \“Mondrian and Liu Ye\”. But Liu Ye's insertion of Mondrian's paintings into his own tableaux is far from simple. Mondrian's emphasis on visual theories such as balance and geometrical partitioning has permeated Liu Ye's artwork and influenced his post-2000 artistic development. Mondrian in the Afternoon is an outstanding example of this influence. The horizontal delineation of the tableau and the vertical shadows on the right side of the painting form a sense of balance and correspondence. Combined with the girl holding binoculars and the shadow of the hung painting, these elements form a unified harmony and sense of equilibrium. Yellow is also the base tone in Noon and Morning, which were painted in the same year, and the three paintings feature the same motifs: young children and hung paintings. All three paintings possess the same sense of order. Liu Ye's continuous artistic exploration of line, colour, tone, and composition are further evident in his Bamboo series, begun in 2007, as well as his more recent Books series. At the foundation of these paintings lies a more compact, simple, and forceful approach to line and form. The stunning precision of Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s paintings reveals the positive effect of institutional training in drawing he had received as a student, empowering the artist with patience and absolute control on his brush. When his artistic and creative mind is allowed to colour the canvas, a calm mood and serene manner emerge. It is exactly this soothing and peaceful style that contrasts with the intense and dramatic use of colour and shading. Such juxtaposition creates a playful taste of tension and interaction within the overall compositional framework, pinpointing precisely the restlessness and anxiety in life. The undercurrents beneath the seemingly calm surface is actually in parallel with the aesthetic pursuit by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Through rearranging and displacing the three primary colours and lines in space, Mondrian is able to fill the canvas with a sense of fullness and tension, metaphorically alluding to the unpredictability in life. In 1994, Liu Ye returned from Germany\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Berlin University of the Arts (Hochschule der Kunste Berlin) to China where movements such as Political Pop and Cynical Realism had become the forefront of Chinese contemporary art. Amid the booming economy, Liu Ye deposited his soul in his childhood memories and the realm of fairytales. He paints a unique and diametrically different impression of China with cartoon-like figures, vivid colours in an approachable style. In this way, Liu Ye has remained an artistic pioneer. In the early nineties, elements of the Cultural Revolution were widely applied to artistic creation; Political Pop arose to become the major trend in Chinese contemporary art. Some Chinese artists ridicule and criticize through their artistic creation, and view the world through an imbedded socio-political lens. At this time, Liu was advancing himself at Germany\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Berlin University of the Arts during the upheaval of the Chinese political past by young artists. Liu, on the other hand, intentionally leaves a distance between his work and society: \“The way we were trained has always been \‘art is to reflect society\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s critical incidents, render crucial historical themes\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’…this ideology neglects the individual experience and feelings. It becomes depleted and over-conceptual.\” He has also asserted that political influence on art is fundamental and ubiquitous; but avoiding it is also a possible attitude. For Liu Ye, beauty and grotesqueness, good and evil, sadness and happiness are perpetual themes that are of much greater importance than political notions. \“My painting basically belongs to my individual life. Childhood for me, was a golden time, many aspects of my painting reflect my childhood imagination and fantasies.\” Childhood fantasy and philosophical setting are the essential qualities that constitute Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s work. His affection for fairytales may be attributed to his father, a writer of children\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’ literature. Liu grew up with discovering beneath his bed a large pile of fairy tales, such as Andersen\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Fairy Tales and The Magic Gourd, which eventually would influence the Liu\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s choice of media and style. He once said: \“The gorgeous illustrations brought to me a refreshing and vibrant universe, which instantly had me enchanted.\” As he grew up, he even fell in love with Dick Bruna\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Miffy character and the movies of the Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki, saying that he felt \“that they are just as great as Leonardo Da Vinci.\” Apart from influences from his father, Liu Ye is also inspired by young peoples\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’ graffiti and art, another primary source for his paintings: \“I was born as the generation of the Cultural Revolution, when I was young all I painted was jetfighters, canons, warships and sometimes the sun and sunflowers.\” For the artist, the purpose of painting is to express the real self. \“After all, I think being honest instead of realistic towards art is the most important of it all\”
Liu Ye - Probe And Others (three Works)

Liu Ye - Probe And Others (three Works)

Original 1993
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 872
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
872 Liu Ye PROBE AND OTHERS (THREE WORKS) (i) signed in Pinyin, titled in English and dated 93, framed (ii) signed in Pinyin, dated 95 and numbered 23/120, framed (iii) signed in Pinyin, dated 93 and numbered 48/50, framed lithograph (i) 7.5 by 8 cm; 3 by 3⅛ in. (ii) 8.6 by 7 cm; 3⅜ by 2¾ in. (iii) 15.5 by 15.5 cm; 6⅛ by 6⅛ in.
Liu Ye - Killing Me Softly

Liu Ye - Killing Me Softly

Original 2002
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 1053
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Liu Ye
KILLING ME SOFTLY
signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated 2002, framed acrylic on canvas 90 by 90 cm; 35⅜ by 35⅜ in.
Provenance
Private Collection Poly Auction, Beijing, 21 November 2006, lot 315 Acquired by the present owner from the above sale
Exhibited
China, Beijing and Hong Kong, Schoeni Art Gallery, Liu Ye: Red, Yellow, Blue, 2003, p. 49 Hong Kong, Schoeni Art Gallery, Liu Ye: Red, Yellow, Blue, 2004
Literature
Liu Ye, Liu Ye: My Own Story, Gallery 3, 2003, p. 130 Liu Ye, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 2007, p. 39 China Art Book: The 80 Most Renowned Chinese Artists, Dumont Buchverlag, Cologne, Germany, 2007, p. 246 Liu Xin Wu, Dés de poulet façon mégère, BLEU DE CHINE, Paris, France, 2007, cover Wu Hung, Contemporary Chinese Art: A History 1970s to 2000s, Thames and Hudson, London, UK, 2014, p. 370 Liu Ye Catalogue Raisonne 1991-2015, Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2015, p. 306
Catalogue Note
A Classic Work from a Golden Era Liu Ye A broad survey of Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s paintings between 1991 and the present reveals a hidden theme. The layers of simple images contain riddles of wisdom and philosophy, which is one reason audiences seem to enjoy gazing deeply into them. These riddles represent the artist\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s acknowledgment of the great river of art history that precedes his own creative practice. They are also mementos of his private life, but he treats them with a light hand, like an adult weaving a fairy-tale in childlike language. This secret realm is the private language of a solitary person: the paradise of a pessimist. Killing Me Softly (Lot 1053), completed in 2002, is a classic work from the beginning of Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s Golden Era. The painting has been exhibited in multiple exhibitions, and for many people, it is the image that comes to mind when they think of Liu Ye. The visual enchantment lies within its rigid composition, where abstract and figurative coexist freely, and dreams interlace with reality. In this way, Liu attains his secret dream of achieving lightness of life. \“I wish that each of my paintings only weighed one gram\”. The Mondrian beneath the girl\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s arm is traded for a tightly grasped knife; the pink background attenuates the tension of the confrontation; the piglet holds its head high, both proud and yielding. Like his previous paintings, Killing Me Softly is a stage, a secret chamber, a private play for the audience. The girl and the piglet have nowhere to run or hide. They stand silently in the light and shadows, perhaps communicating in murmurs too quiet for us to hear. Fabricated characters can be dimensional projections of actual lives; the girl stands in for all of humankind. Liu Ye has always fascinated by the faces of children, who he usually situates in some anonymous place and time. They are small, delicate, and isolated from the world. Shortly after his birth in Beijing in 1964, Liu Ye was sent to the countryside alongside his father, who was an author of children\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s literature. Liu\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s childhood was one of forced relocations as the thoughts and minds of an entire generation of intellectuals were audited and censored. Thus he explored the world with a sense of secretiveness, aware of both its joys and its perils. Maintaining a submissive posture to authority while privately enjoying limited freedoms became a game. At the age of four, he discovered banned books hidden in a secret suitcase in his house; this suitcase became a glimmer of light within a dark and forbidding castle. His favourite book, Oscar Wilde\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, tells the story of a portrait that allowed its subject to retain his youthful appearance despite the passage of time and horrific experiences. This story helped lay the seeds for Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s creative career, in which literary scenes have played a prominent role. In 1980, he gained admittance to the China School of Arts and Crafts. Like other Chinese artists of his generation, he received a strict, orthodox education in the arts while simultaneously experiencing the dramatic opening up of his society and the arrival of influence from the Western cultural world. In this complex and contradictory environment, Liu Ye developed his own painting language, drawing on the styles of Mondrian, Vermeer, and Klee. After graduating from the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, he traveled to Germany to continue his studies. These repeated changes in environment compelled Liu Ye to adapt and refine his style. He honed his technical ability and sought to resist the past while also cautiously acknowledging its value. In the 1990s, self-portraits often appeared among the artist\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s paintings, which featured dreams within dreams, paintings within paintings, and plays within plays. It all looked toward the future while glancing back at the past. The actions of his characters seemed to be earnest performances of life situations; the airplanes, steamships, seas and horizons in the distance were unreachable realities, unattainable worlds. Liu Ye has always claimed to avoid political metaphor, but his experiences as a child during a tumultuous period of history undoubtedly informed his early paintings. Those works include red cloth, choruses, green skirts, naval uniforms, airplanes, and images of Mao that reveal the marks and scars of collective memory in the human heart. These political symbols subsequently became key surrealistic elements during a certain phase of Chinese contemporary art, but Liu Ye had no interest in continuing to play deconstructive games. He earnestly parted ways with these methods, seemingly isolating himself, and implying a struggle between the individual and history, as well as one between the individual and the group. This decision was a choice to take a more arduous road in his painting practice. He resolved to move beyond these scars and seek a quieter and more secluded path. In his understanding of art, politics are far less important than art, emotions, and people themselves. So Liu Ye drew a clear boundary between his painting and his politics. Hints of Mondrian\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s influence are evident in Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s earliest work. Liu exhibits the humility and piety of a classicist, and these traits led him into dialog with the great masters of the past. He seeks to infuse his images with perpetuity, balance, and abundance, and this kind of intimacy requires avoiding the solemnity that people expect. Instead, Liu escaped into the world of the child who refuses to grow up, thus avoiding seriousness, which can lead to the suspicion of artificiality. At the same time, he cleverly disguised himself within his work. His own sorrow and pessimism is concealed in the bright colors and light humor of his paintings. In his own words: my works have never expressed joy. An escapist air has continued to characterize Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s work, including two recent series, Book and Bamboo. Liu has traced the traditions of Western abstractionism and Yuan Dynasty landscapes to the most essential aspects of painting. Leafs dissolve and bamboo joints jut forth; simple lines and murky tones describe the cool and bleak world of a recluse. But their fragmentary and dreamlike postulations also bring the viewer into the heart of tableaus that recall Mondrian. Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’s painting series are different parts of the river of life in his imagination. They show flickering signs of his ideas about the world. Each one-act play is a glimpse of a perpetual drama; each momentary glimpse is both a painting and an eternity.
Liu Ye - Angel Choir

Liu Ye - Angel Choir

Original 2001
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 264
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Lot Description

LIU YE (China, B. 1964)
Angel Choir

signed \‘Liu Ye\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’ in Pinyin; signed in Chinese; dated \‘2001\’\’\’\’\’\’\’\’(lower right) ; numbered \‘95/100 (lower left)

digital print on canvas

60 x 70 cm. (23 5/8 x 27 1/2 in.)

edition 95/100

Executed in 2001

Provenance

Private Collection, Asia
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