Born in Beijing, China in 1965, Liu Wei studied printmaking at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. After graduating, Liu Wei quickly became known as a prominent figure in China’s “cynical realism” movement. Influenced by the events of 1989, his early paintings mirror the movement’s disenchantment with both political and artistic utopias, less a statement about historic events, than expressions of skepticism and satire.

Demonstrating a wide array of influences—from Chinese calligraphy to Expressionism—Liu Wei’s work has become less political over time, dealing instead with universal themes of humanity. Like his Western forebears Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud, he is a master of rendering human flesh and combining figuration with subliminal text and abstraction. Liu Wei’s deft grasp of technique and acute awareness of color and composition is evident in his lush landscapes, in which flora and fauna often escape the confines of the canvas and spill out onto the hand carved frames.


2016 Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, Solomon R. Guggenheim,
Museum, New York, New York
2013 Passage to History: 20 Years of La Biennale di Venezia and Chinese Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu, China
2012 China— XinJiang The 1st Contemporary Art Biennale, XinJiang, China
Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture, The National Portrait Gallery Canberra, The
Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, Australia Face, Minghsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Last updated: 7 November 2018

2010 The WAY is not merely between two points, Lin & Lin Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2008 Encounter, Pace Gallery, Beijing, China
New Interface 4— Here Comes Spring, Red Bridge Gallery, Shanghai, China
Half-Life of a Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San
Francisco, California
Where Are We? CH’ IENMEN 23, Beijing, China
Our Future: the Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, UCCA, Beijing, China
2007 Beyond the Image, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
The Opening Exhibition of Zhangjiang Contemporary Art Museum, Zhangjiang Contemporary Art
Museum, Shanghai, China
New Interface 3— Searching the Future, Liu Haisu Museum, Shanghai, China Contemporary in Cross-Straits— Comparing Reading, Songzhuang, Beijing, China
2006 Not Flowers, Songzhuang Museum, Beijing, China
The Lime Light of Chinese Contemporary Art, Gallery Artside, Seoul, Korea
An Exhibition for Liu Wei’s Photos by Polaroid and Li Yanxiu’s Oil Paintings, Ni Gallery, Beijing,
Art in Motion, MoCa Shanghai -Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China
Mahjong— Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland;
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany
2005 Land of Warmth— The Opening Exhibition of Red Bridge Gallery, Shanghai, China
Always to the Front— China Contemporary Art, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan 2004 Tradition, Poetry and Sensibility, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
BEYOND BOUNDARIES— Opening Exhibition, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
2002 The 1st Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, China
2001 Towards a New Image: Twenty Years of Contemporary Chinese Painting, Touring show in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, China
Liu Wei and Zhao Gang 2001, Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, Australia 2000 Think Aloud, Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, Australia
The New Face of China Art, Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1999 Zeitwenden— The Outlook, Bonn Museum of Art, Bonn, Germany China Art, Limn Gallery, San Francisco, USA
Inside/Out: New Chinese Art, Modern Art Museum of San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, California
1989 Transformation and Mutation— The New Chinese Art, Asia Society, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Touring show in USA, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong
China New Art, Lehman Maupin Gallery, New York, New York Made in China, Nikolaus Sonne Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany China-Art, Galerie UrsMeile, Luzern, Switzerland
1997 The Faces and Bodies from Middle Kingdom— Chinese New Art, Prague Art Museum, Prague, Czech Republic
Quotation Marks, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Liu Wei and Ye Yongqing, Gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
Last updated: 7 November 2018

8+8-1: Works Exhibition of Fifteen Chinese Contemporary Artists, Touring Show in Hong Kong, China; Chicago, Illinois; London, United Kingdom; Berlin, Germany
Red and Grey— Eight Avant-garde Chinese Artists, Soobin Art Gallery, Singapore China New Art, Art Museum, Lisbon, Australia
1996 China!, Touring Show in Germany, Austria, Poland, Denmark
1995 The 46th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibition: in the Absence of Ideology, Kampnagel Halle-K3,
Hamburg, Germany
From the Central Nation— Chinese Avant-garde Art since 1979, Santa Monica Art Centre,
Barcelona, Spain
1994 The 22nd St. Paul Biennale, St. Paul, Brazil
Modern Oil Painting in China, Hong Kong, China
1993 China’s New Art, Post-1989, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada; Chicago Cultural Centre, Chicago, Illinois; Marlborough Gallery,
London, United Kingdom
China Avant-garde, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthal Rotterdam,
Rotterdam, Netherlands; Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, United Kingdom; Kunthallen
Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark; Hildesheim Art Gallery, Hildesheim, Germany Mao Goes Pop, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
The 45th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
1991 Liu Wei and Fang Lijun, Beijing Art Museum, Beijing, China