Painting Salon of Liu Guofu

May to July, 2015
3812 Art Space

10/F, 12 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong

In Liu Guofu’s work ‘Open Space’, we can see an open, ovular ring space in the painting. The surrounding tree shapes are in opposition to it, standing erect in the open air, creating a formal contrast, and yet the entire painting is filled with a diffuse, flowing vapour. From the depressed area at center, there flow countless currents like waves or light-waves, constant and ceaseless, as if the spring of life has been dug open. Liu Guofu has discovered an energy field of life, clumps of vapour that appear to be a transformation of the Mi-style clouds in Chinese shanshui painting. This is a perceptivity that dissolves form, fusing the “sense of qi” and “sense of light,” fusing the elemental nature of ink painting with the elemental nature of oil painting in an unimaginable way. The living bodies across the entire painting are dancing like tongues of flame, like a chakra breathing.

The waves ripple in the depression, and the light penetrates the dense trees and grasses. Like lichen or moss, there is this dark aura of beauty, a transformation of the Chinese cultural sense of space with its round sky and square earth, constantly shifting round into square and square into round, making the vapour flow. This is an adjustment to the frame of painting, as if the painting is spinning, while waves of light surge out from the depression, the beginnings of a new opportunity emerging. This is the opening up of non-dimensionality. This is the light of diffusion, tree branches of life, branching out trees mimicking fractal geometry, sacred nature, the clumps of vapour in Wang Yuanqi’s shanshui painting in more condensed form, Gong Xian’s ink accumulations activated as the growth nature of oil painting, Mi-style clouds and steam transformed into flows of vapour. They have found their own rhythm on the edge of modern change. Thus, Liu has also transformed Giacometti’s approach to painting, destroying and rebuilding it, yet also approaching the soft and the sublime, approaching the revolution of silent transformation. There is a depression, but it does not fall into the illusion of depth, and fosters the mechanism of growth. The painting calls us to fold our own perception into the waves of light, to rest under the sweet shade of the trees, to breathe in the distant undulating dreams.

The opening up of this new, invisible non-dimensionality requires a new colour system, just as Cézanne, in his later years, discovered a system of complementary colours or illuminating colours that differed from Impressionism, approaching the autonomous construction of pure colours, dissolving form. Or perhaps it is the colour system of the depth of nature. Though it was later carried on by abstract painting, this “colour of depth” from Cézanne’s late period was connected to the roots of natural elementality, and the later developments of Western art cancelled this connection. Now, heeding the call to rewrite modernity, this colour of depth awaits reconnection with nature and new application. This is the coming of Chinese colour or the new jade colour system.


(Left) : Liu Guofu, ‘Untitled’, 120 cm x 90 cm, Oil on canvas, 2013

(Right) : Liu Guofu, ‘Open Space No.41’, 120 cm x 90 cm, Oil on canvas, 2015

Liu Guofu, ‘Open Space No.28’, 180 cm x 150 cm, Oil on canvas, 2014

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Liu Guofu, ‘Untitled’, 120 cm x 90 cm, Oil on canvas, 2013

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Liu Guofu, ‘Open Space No.15’, 96 cm x 167 cm, Oil on canvas, 2013

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Liu Guofu, ‘Open Space No.15’, 96 cm x 167 cm, Oil on canvas, 2013