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K11 Art Foundation at the Venice Biennale: Liang Yuanwei, Behind the Curtain
Installation image, Liang Yuanwei Behind the Curtain, exhibition produced by K11 Art Foundation in Venice, 2017. Photo Ugo Carmeni Courtesy the K11 Art Foundation.


VENICE.- The K11 Art Foundation is presenting Behind the Curtain, a new exhibition of work by Liang Yuanwei, one of China’s influential names in contemporary art. The show runs simultaneously with the 57th Biennale di Venezia and is curated by Loï c Le Gall, Assistant Curator at Centre Pompidou. Liang Yuanwei represented China in the 54th Biennale di Venezia in 2011.

The title of the exhibition, Behind the Curtain, alludes to the operatic traditions of both China and Europe, a stage curtain often being a work of art in its own right but also revealing a reality behind it. Behind the Curtain is an homage to Venice and the Teatro La Fenice, as well as the carnival during which participants wander masked throughout the city. For the artist, the curtain also serves as a paradigm, a representation of the world, a way of looking at things. In the Peking opera where the decor is immutable, a table and two chairs are reconfigured to represent multiple scenes. This same pattern can be understood in the context of traditional Chinese painting: while the subjects remain, the techniques change. The exhibition title, Behind the Curtain also references the exhibition’s revelation of Liang Yuanwei’s intimate artistic practice.

Visitors to Venice’s Palazzo Pisani will see a selection of Liang’s impressive oil paintings, products of her attempt to perfectly imitate the detailed textures of fabrics. The works on show also can be read in reference to questions of seriality and reproducibility which are engaged in more explicitly conceptual contemporary art. In this sense, the paintings are a digression from Liang’s original artistic intention; patterns and words are repeated to the extent they are transformed and their original meaning exhausted.

Adrian Cheng, Founder and Honorary Chairman, K11 Art Foundation, says: “We are excited about this exhibition and working again with Liang Yuanwei, an exceptional artist whose career we have followed for some time, and whose works we have exhibited at the chi K11 art museum in Shanghai. Part of KAF’s wider initiative is to support exceptional young artists from Greater China and to encourage important intercultural dialogues across borders. For this exhibition we bring her work to the world’s most prominent art stage – in Venice over the Biennale.”

Loïc Le Gall, Curator, says: “Liang is a captivating artist whose work combines conceptual rigor with emotional experience, resulting in works that are strong and leave a lasting impression. This wonderful collaboration was made possible by the K11 Art Foundation and I am delighted for this exhibition to be taking place in Venice, being the crossroads of cultural exchange, as Liang’s work covers a vast range of cultural traditions.”

Liang Yuanwei was born in 1977 and currently lives and works in Beijing. She graduated from the School of Design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and was a founding member of N12, an enterprising young art collective that exhibited together in the early 2000s. Liang Yuanwei is represented by Beijing Commune and represented China at the 54th Venice Biennale, in 2011, and has participated in group exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum (US), Joan Miró Museum (Spain), Kunstmuseum Bern (Switzerland), Minsheng Art Museum (China) and Taikang Space (China). She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Beijing Boers-Li Gallery, China (2008), and the Beijing Commune, China (2010 and 2013). Her works have also been included in important publications including ‘Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting’ by Phaidon Press, ‘The Chinese Art Book’ by Phaidon Press, and ‘The Generational: Younger than Jesus’ by New Museum in New York City.






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