As LIU Jian’s first solo exhibition, Dangerous Edge presents the artist’s intensive artistic exploration in the most recent year from multiple angels: method, language, material, concept and context. Such exploration is based on the form of painting while goes beyond it. Through the material and method, we are able to understand Liu’s attitude and concept for his works. However, the material and method themselves are not the cores of his art making; they essentially reflect the repetitive yet evolving process of the artist’s self-recognition in the past seven years. In addition to the presentation of Liu’s complete works, Dangerous Edge also shows other works that were developed from Liu’s art materials as well as marks of his physical labors. The extended works and the evidences of Liu’s labor are supplements to bring the audience closer to the structure of the exhibition and the process of Liu’s art making. And they reveal to the audience Liu’s way of thinking in his art making process and the connections grew between the artist and matter during an elaborated time of labor. No word from other people can better describe Liu’s art practice and inner-transformation than his own statement: “My artistic practice is indeed a history of failures. Its pricelessness comes from my acknowledgement of my failures and my effort of making use of them. The one that had been eliminated was actually myself, but not the materials.”
By resonating with the artist’s practice, the first part of the exhibition chooses Liu Jian’s temporary and improvisational art making condition — waiting for the rain — to lead the audiences into his spirit world and understand his attitude when creating. Such choice isn’t random; it in fact reflects Liu’s periodical work status: every year he spends approximately four months in the field creating art. The connection between the outside world and his works naturally leads the exhibition into Liu’s point of views on the material level. The materials in Liu’s works gradually became obsolete during the erosion and exploitation of both natural and labor forces, but such degradation presented another unique spiritual power. For Liu, this process results a nearly machine-made, irreplaceable residue of workforce. The second part of the exhibition makes a transition from medium to the connection between the artist’s material-based creation to real world. The life fragments in Liu’s works truly reflect the artist’s emotion, sentiment and personal narrative, which demonstrate the indivisibility of his art practice and contemporaneity. The last part of this exhibition emphasizes the core concept in Liu’s body of work: an intermediate state as if on a dangerous edge. This state indicates the artist’s own paradox faced with the untrue reality and context of contemporary art — to avoid his work being defined by any art history or time, and meanwhile to avoid completely returning to the inner self. Liu’s processing of the image also indicates his doubt on the current power structure of it. Liu’s rebellion of the form of painting is not an escape from the gigantic power structure of art, but breaking a new path, whose method is actually based on the modernist painting —— to seize the power of the image by a spirit regenerated from degradation. The realization of reconstruction of power system in Liu’s work depends on the artist’s denying of explicit standards through constant self-denying and replacing them with an immediate standard from a swing state on the dangerous power edge of the image.
In this dangerous zone, on the edge, Liu’s work contains irrationality and rationality at the same time. When we go beyond the work itself, the artist and the exhibition further raise a question needed to be solved: after countless times of pushing the limits, whether this automatic method of art making that is established through long-term practices again inhibits the inner power of breaking the limits? In another word, would the pursuit of going beyond the limit itself become a shackle and create a new power structure?
Between Art Lab 为中国首家艺术实验室，成立于2013年，建立于北京与上海。作为一个替代性的艺术空间，致力于拓展当代艺术的延展性，促进新艺术形式的产生与探索。Between Art Lab将通过展览项目联通多平台之间的互动，推动艺术与跨领域之间的交流。以鲜活的态度，为策展人、艺术家以及艺术机构提供一个中间平台，并将努力提供多重信息交流，积极联通科学技术、建筑、设计、多媒体等跨领域信息的导入。在一个正在到来的新世界认识体系中，伴随艺术家推动新艺术形式的产生。
Founded in 2013, Between Art Lab is the first experimental art lab in China. Based in Beijing and Shanghai, BAL is committed to investigate and generate new art forms through exploring the extensibility of Contemporary Art as an alternative art space. By encouraging interactions and connections among various platforms through BAL’s core exhibition projects, the lab is devoted to promote interdisciplinary communications between art and other fields. With enthusiasm and dedicated attitude, we provide an intermediate platform for curators, artists and art organizations, and strive to facilitate multi-layered information communication and the infusion of science and technology, architecture, design, multimedia, as well as other disciplines to the art world. In the coming world of a new cognitive system, Between Art Lab aims to boost the emergence of new art forms with the artists in our times.