Having relocated from Beijing to Baltimore a year ago, the artist Liu Yefu adapted John Lennon's iconic "Imagine" as a prelude to commemorate the Ukrainian mathematician Konstantin Olmezov, who tragically took his own life. These peculiar scenes, crafted through video and ink drawing, emerge from Liu's engagement with daily news and social media. They serve as reflections of the modern human predicament: a paradox where we recognize the lessons of the past but still repeat them, where apparent logical coherence is riddled with flaws, and where one may appear cheerful and outgoing in public yet suppressed and sorrow in solitude. As you wander through the exhibition, you are bound to experience fleeting moments of joy, hints of melancholy, and occasional instances of both clarity and bewilderment. The project “John Lenin” at the ARTING Gallery continues Liu's on-going exploration to conservatism and progress, the elite and the grassroots, confronting the awkwardness between theory and reality, leap into the void, and challenging people's stereotypes and biases.
Liu Yefu (b. 1986, Beijing) focuses on video, drawing and mixed media. Influenced by Asian folk culture, Liu is interested in the expression of black humor with a stream of consciousness style, playfully comments on the chaos and restlessness of social realities. By shooting daily life scenes, combined with ink drawings in line with his fictional plot, Liu mapping the ideology and stereotypes brought by history, nationality, and memory
Liu’s solo project including: John Lenin (Baltimore, 2023), Fool’s Paradise (Beijing, 2022), Hehemeimei, (Basel, 2021), No Easy Symbolism (Beijing, 2018), Episode 1 (Beijing, 2016). His recent works have been exhibited at 4th Bienalsur (Upcoming, 2023), 25th Gabrovo Biennial for Humor & Satire in Art (Gabrovo, 2022), Tai Kwun Contemporary (Hong Kong, 2019), Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago, 2019), Le Carreau du Temple (Paris, 2017), Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (Beijing, 2017), YUZ Museum (Shanghai, 2016), Kimberly-Klark Gallery, (New York, 2015), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, 2014) among others. Liu’s publication include “Do it, China 2021”, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Cao Dan, and he has been nominated for the Han Nefkens Video production grants (Barcelona, 2022), Balois Art Prize (Basel, 2021), Huayu Youth Award (Sanya, 2016) and he is the finalist of Toby Devan Lewis MFA
Liu Yefu would like to thank Jiangshengyu Nova Pan, Freddie Graves, Najee Carde Banks, Benjamin Bonezone, Cosmo Guo, Bin Zhang, Pat Alexander, Kevin Labadie and ARTING GALLERY for their help and support.