Liu Zhen (b. 1970) is an exciting young Shanghai-based artist who specializes in lacquer painting, often on a large scale in screens or triptychs. His mastery of this medium is taking one of the most ancient art forms in Chinese culture to an unprecedented level of modern aesthetic expression.
Born in Jiangsu Province in 1970, Liu Zhen was trained in traditional Chinese ink painting and oil painting at high school. Later, at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing, he studied mural art and began to focus on lacquer painting. Liu Zhen has travelled widely all over China, developing a love of natural landscapes and scenery. He also has a strong interest in ancient Chinese culture, in particular the surface texture of antique objects, old walls, and traditional Chinese seal carvings. These two sources of inspiration come together in his work.
Liu Zhen achieves a fluidity and vividness of colour reminiscent of the “splashed ink” paintings of the later master Zhang Daqian (1899-1993), whose technique he greatly admires. What makes Liu Zhen’s paintings unique, however, is the way he integrates fragments of ancient calligraphy and seal carvings into his abstract landscapes.
Producing a lacquer painting is a time-consuming, meticulous task that may take weeks or even months to complete. Up to ten layers of coloured lacquer are applied, and each one must dry before the next one is applied. Liu Zhen also uses sand and crushed ceramic tiles, while gold and silver leaf is used for the seals. Though still a young artist, Liu Zhen handles this difficult medium with apparent ease. He says, “I am interested in the fusion of old and new – a traditional Chinese medium, a modern Chinese expression.”
|1970||Born in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China|
|1986-90||Attended high school in Suzhou, started lacquer painting|
|1990||Creative award in Landscape Painting Exhibition, Nanjing|
|1990-99||Returned to Xuzhou, painted in oil and lacquer|
|1997||Invited to participate in the Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition, Canada|
|1998||Participated in Progressive New Century Oil Painting Exhibition, Nanjing|
|1999||Central Academy of Art, Beijing, assistant professor programme|
|2000||Chinese Enterprise Artwork Exhibition, Central Academy of Art|
Solo Oil Painting Exhibition, Shanghai
Exhibited in the Shanghai International Art Expo
|2002||Participated in Sunbath Art activities, Nanjing|
|2003||Work submitted for the third Grand Oil Painting Exhibition, Nanjing|
Solo exhibition, No. 50 Moganshan Road, Shanghai
Salon Art Exhibition, Shanghai International Art Exhibition Center