PHOENIX ART PALACE MUSEUM
HONG MUSEUM/RIGHT GALLERY
Venue：Phoenix Art Palace Museum
Phoenix Island，Jincheng Bay Park，Binhu Dist，Wuxi，Jiangsu
Opening Hours：Tuesday to Sunday
The opening ceremony will be held on the second floor of Phoenix Art Palace Museum at 3pm on March 19th.
《荷塘月色》200x162cmx3 布面油画 2011年
Ramble and Meditation
Liu Manwen has been painting the Gardens for more than ten years. Many people still have an impression of Liu Manwen in her famous series The Ordinary Life. Unbeknownst to them, Liu Manwen had moved into the next stage, a more comfortable and free state.
The Gardens is the entrance to her exploration.
A good artist is always on the way to challenge and hone themselves. Interestingly, she chose the traditional Chinese gardens as a subject for painting because "It seems they are difficult to be depicted". Before Liu's attempt, Chinese gardens were known to exist only in ancient Chinese literati paintings. It seems that it has not become a favored subject in the oil painting classification. She set herself the difficult task of presenting Chinese gardens with the technique of oil painting. Liu wanted to prove that it is possible to use oil paints to create the mellow Zen of mist and water.
Liu Manwen was famous for her modeling capability when she was young. The intensity and fearlessness of her painting conveys mood and attitude in a distinct way. As an artist who authentically follows the natural state of life, she leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the edge of the howl. When the state of life enters serenity and vipasana, she prefers to express her authentic spiritual experience in new ways, rather than stagnating in the skills she has already mastered. Like a classical ballerina with the muscle memory of her body, she could effortlessly twirl through the air and fall steadily, but she didn't want to show off, or even use the language. Instead, she gives free expression to the body that has entered the modern dance experiment, which creates its own sentences and even its own characters. To overcome the inertia of previous techniques, she chose a difficult subject to paint to challenge herself. For what she wanted to paint was not the appearance of the garden, but how she felt in it. The garden on the canvas does not come from the perspective of the eyes, but from the perspective of the spirit. During the ramble, Liu escaped from the ordinary world and entered a gap where time and space disappeared.
Ramble is a state. Ramble is an activity that removes purpose. The purpose of ramble is ramble itself. There is no so-called destination. This is the state that Liu Manwen wanted to achieve in the series of the Gardens. At the stage，she no longer uses images to express a strong point of view or output a message. Instead, she wants to open the garden space and create a boundless perceptual universe. The Deerpark Village by Wang Wei also describes a state of wandering: "No wight is seen in the lonely hills round here, But whence is wafting the human voice I hear? So deep in the forest the sunset glow can cross That it seems to choose to linger on the moss." The blank space of the garden contains infinite imagination.
Smeared on the canvas is Liu's ramble. Forward, back, and the different scenery flashed by in time. Ramble and meditation are simultaneous events in the mind that inspire one to look inside and embrace one's own time and rhythm.
The process is not easy. Because her superb painting ability always shapes the works, but in a way, they are also like sandbags strapped to the body. She longed to unload the sandbags and dive into a feeling of flow. That's what her interest. Sometimes she has applied dozens of strokes to seemingly simple images – For her it is easy to create a stable structure on the canvas. However, she expects the structure to be fluid, even close to a dangerous loss of control, which is the thrill of painting that makes her heart race. Only in this way can the picture provide a more complex experience, making the viewer's eye linger in her garden space.
James Cahill combed the ancient gardens in Garden Paintings in Old China（2012）. He suggested that the ancients were building a universe by building gardens. The presence of the garden is isolated from the outside, in which time and mind are shrouded and protected by the place itself. Series of the Gardens from Liu Manwen is not just about the interest of ancient gardens. What makes the artist happy is to keep her soul in an agile state and activity. This might be the spirit of series of the Gardens. In Spazieren, Liu Manwen also created a self-contained spiritual world: the Gardens, from the beginning as a painting object, became her methodology and approach. In the end, when the artist's subject dissolves through the ramble in the garden, the Gardens becomes the artist's mind ，as well as the purpose itself.
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《蓝调》100x70cm 布面油画 2019年
《蓝调》100x70cm 布面油画 2017年
《MSC》140x180cm 布面油画 2021年
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