Current exhibition

Liang Shuo: Liang Dafen

2024. 03. 14-05. 04

Beijing Commune is pleased to present Liang Shuo’s pseudo-eponymous exhibition, “Liang Dafen”, from March 14, 2024, showcasing a selection of Liang’s recent sculptures and paintings. The artist has recently used the pseudonym Liang Dafen out of admiration for the Dafen Village, a suburban neighborhood in Shenzhen, China. The village has made a name for itself for its cluster of art factories and production of masterwork replicas. Academically trained as a sculptor, Liang thinks of himself as a layman to painting and appreciates, among other things, the techniques employed by Dafen painters that mediate between tactical virtuosity and expressive flexibility. It is always the tension between the restraints in every form and the spontaneous creativity that is at the center of Liang’s practice within which he developed his unique aesthetic of “Zha (渣, residue)” lying where something authentic, free, and lovely. 

Temples with curling incense smoke, lingering light of sunsets, multiple distances in Chinese landscape paintings, and Barbizon’s trees, none of which leads to a heartfelt tranquility as the garish color prevails in Liang’s palette. Crimson, magenta, turquoise, aquamarine, such colors seem to be foretold by his earlier works from the I am Fucking Beautiful series (2008-2009) in which the scavenged “little commodi ties” flare into exuberant and frenzied existence. This sort of blatant ostentation reflects as well as poignantly ridicules a farcical reality. Some trees, symbols of which are traditionally imbued with emotional or lofty connotations in Chinese literati poems and paintings, almost appear as nonsense in Liang’s works: the decorative bamboo and woods paintings bad at alluring in My Homeland 12 and 14, a pair of cone-shaped faux tree in My Homeland 18, and the rootless blossoming peach tree in My Homeland 21. Hinted by its name, the My Homeland series explores Liang’s experience in his physical and psychological proximity. It is a place that has undergone rampant transformations for the past decades as well as developed a folk aesthetic that amalgamates the mundane and banal with the so-called high art both from the East and the West. 

While goods of massive over-production in the Fit series (2009-2018) crisscross each other, an assemblage accentu- ating a precarious structure, My Homeland sculptures seem bulky and obtuse. The modeling of these sculptures emulates, to use the artist’s words, “something as a whole.” As self-sufficient as they may seem, almost like minute islands, the sculptures rich in spatial intricacies and peculiari- ties appear as one’s perceptions rather than scenes. For Liang, these works encapsulate his presence. Perceptions rather than concepts of the real and the unreal swirl in embodied experiences: the fictitious line between adjacent districts manifested as tollbooths is adorned with flowerbeds in My Homeland 19; or that between the mounds on both sides of the lane in My Homeland 20 gestures towards the boundaries between the private and the forlorn. The artificial division and arrangement of space also come to the fore in his shanshui and garden—an epitome of shanshui in Chinese tradition—paintings, coalescing the historical and the contemporary. Years ago, Liang initiated itineraries of backpacking, visiting, and sleeping in temples around China. Wherever these relics are located, in places as famous as popular scenic spots or as unheeded as ruins, they must appear different from how they looked in the past. Space is constantly rearranged even in the slightest way over the course. Yet the delusive spatial relationship in Liang’s work constitutes something beyond, as mesmerizing as an unnatural naturalness. For Liang, it would be less important to distinguish the scenes that are manmade or natural, that are in his dream or reality, than to explore the unpredictable that is viscerally felt yet overflows the learned knowledge. In this set of works, Liang captures the unpredictable that is not yet gobbled up by the omnipotent mind, a process that may be as “tongkuai (fast and fun)” as the Dafen Village painters might describe. [1] 

[1] Winnie Won Yin Wong. Van Gogh on demand: China and the readymade. P.61 

Past exhibitions