Liu Ding, Detail The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality: The Weight of An Art History Book + antiques, 2009-2010.

Liu Ding, Liu Ding?s Store, 2010, Installation view, seen from the courtyard of Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Beijing, China.

Considerations of the Heartfelt, Utopia, Conversation, and Friendship

Liu Ding, Conversations, 2010 , Edition of 3 (walls) / "Friendship No.4" 2010 (foreground left), "Conversations" 2010 , Edition of 3 (walls), c-print, paper, frame, mp4, variable size, "Friendship No.4" 2010 (foreground left), wood, paint, white marble, water, plant, terracotta pot, lamp, dimension size varies with installation (wooden table 15.6 x 200 x 110 cm), Installation view at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Beijing, China.

Liu Ding, I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts, installation view, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, April 18-August 1, 2009.

Liu Ding, I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts, installation view, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, April 18-August 1, 2009.

Liu Ding, I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts, installation view, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, April 18-August 1, 2009.

Liu Ding, I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts, installation view, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, April 18-August 1, 2009.

Liu Ding, I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts, installation view, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, April 18-August 1, 2009.

Liu Ding, The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality: The Weight of An Art History Book + antiques, 2009-2010, mixed media, Installation includes: "The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality: The Weight of An Art History Book", 16 pieces of antiques, dimension varies with installation, Installation view at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, Beijing, China.

Liu Ding, Liu Ding's Store - The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality, 53rd Venice Biennale, Chinese Pavilion, Venice, Italy, 2009, installation view.

Liu Ding, Samples from the Transition-Products, 2005, Installation in two parts, Part 1, Performance: November 18, 2005, 3 to 7 pm, 40 paintings, oil on canvas, each 60 x 90 cm, painted by 13 painters from Dafancun – Village/Shenzheng, China, at the 2nd Guangzhou Triennal, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangdong, China.

 

Galerie Urs Meile
Number 104
caochangdi cun
cui gezhuang xiang
Chaoyang district
+ 86 10 643 333 93
Beijing
Liu Ding’s Store
November 13, 2010-January 16, 2011

Liu Ding’s Store employs a utilitarian economic model — a shop — to establish a platform for thinking and discussion centred around the creation of value. Liu Ding’s Store was launched in the summer of 2008. Besides selling works online (www.liudingstore.com), Liu Ding’s Store frequently makes appearances and sales in an assortment of contexts and situations, from social and cultural events to art exhibitions. Liu Ding’s Store is an ongoing project that continues to develop new lines of work. Through different formats that include product pricing, promotion, marketing and circulation, it seeks to investigate, understand and discuss value — particularly the complex characteristics and essence of the subject of value in art — as well as the rules, mechanisms and politics behind the creation of value. In the meantime, it is an art practice that expresses the artist’s visions and imagination of politics.

As of the present, Liu Ding’s Store has developed four product lines: Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart; The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality; Conversations; and Friendship.

Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart is a series of unfinished landscape paintings custom-made in a factory in a large quantity according to the artist’s order. The artist has autographed each individual painting, which is thus granted a potential for value appreciation. Thanks to the artist’s signature, which also carries a symbolic value, these products are sold at a moderate price (only RMB 1500 each) that attracts many customers. As devised by the artist, such a game fully exposes the speculative nature of value.

The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality unites objects, products and artworks of differing values and categories based on themes invented by the artist. Each grouping of various items is offered for sale as a whole. Every item within each theme is priced equally, regardless of the differences in their functional, commercial, cultural and social values. In each themed collection of things, everything is equal. Their values are free of any hierarchical or quantitative distinction. This notion implies a radical political imagination.

Conversations is a series of products featuring photographic documentation and sound recordings of non-public conversations the artist conducts with other practitioners in specific contexts. What carries value in this series is the actual experience of intellectual exchange, mutual inspiration and clashes of ideas. The artist boldly claims these experiences to be of value and prices them, calling for customers of an equally adventurous and forward-looking spirit.

Friendship is the newest product in Liu Ding’s Store. What is for sale is an abstract psychological space, an environment and context made up of works and furniture designed by the artist. This context encourages people to gather and spend time together.

Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing presents all four product lines from Liu Ding’s Store. For this project, Liu Ding has invited renowned antique collector, Zhu Yeqing, to provide a selection of antique items from his collection to be a part of the Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality. The order underlying the creation of value in the antique business is a model in which objects are in a continuous cycle, existing as contextual references for each other; their values and prices are created and determined through such reciprocal referencing and support. Such a system actually transcends the pure material properties of an object and weaves social, artistic, cultural and economic values together to establish its selling price. This system is in sync with the spirit and order of the Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality. Mr. Zhu’s selection of antiques and the Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality are brought together in this exhibition to form contextual references and backing for each other.

A practice of diverse directions and forms, Liu Ding’s Store offers a critical contemplation and understanding of the art system. It touches upon the definition of art, the roles and power of artists, the definition of artworks, and the intellectual and economic value imbedded in the relationships and human networks of the art world. What the artist is concerned about in this project is not the revival of these old issues within contemporary society or an historical context, but how to raise these issues again through his own practice in order to initiate effective discussions. This art project, in conjunction with similar issues deriving from those of other artists, will thus generate practical examples for the construction of new forms of institutional critique.

Liu Ding’s Store has been presented in the following exhibitions and venues: Far West, Arnolfini Art Centre, Bristol, and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK; China: Destruction / Construction, São Paulo Museum of Art, Brazil; the Chinese Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy; the 5th Latin American Biennial of Visual Arts, Instituto Paranaense de Arte, Curitiba, Brazil; PAWNSHOP, The Shop, Beijing, China; the Second Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Russia; and •Museum on Paper•, Contemporary Art & Investment magazine, Issue No. 45, Sept 2010. Liu Ding’s Store will also appear at ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, USA.

Liu Ding was born in 1976. He currently lives and works in Beijing as an artist and curator.

Liu Ding has participated in a number of major exhibitions such as the Second Guangzhou Triennial, the Fourth Seoul International Biennale of Media Art, and the Chinese Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. His works have also been featured in many museums and galleries in China and abroad, including: Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK; Arnolfini Art Centre, Bristol, UK; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; São Paulo Museum of Art, Brazil; ZKM Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; Centre PasquArt, Biel-Bienne, Switzerland; Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, Turin, Italy; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; the Luggage Store, San Francisco, USA; Iberia Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; Shanghai MOCA, Shanghai, China; and the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China.

Liu Ding, Detail Conversations, 2010.

Liu Ding, I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts, installation view, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland, April 18-August 1, 2009.

Liu Ding, Liu Ding's Store – The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality: The Perfect Sphere, 2009, mixed media, 200 x 80 x 60 cm.

Liu Ding, Liu Ding's Store - The Utopian Future of Art, Our Reality, 53rd Venice Biennale, Chinese Pavilion, Venice, Italy, 2009, installation view.

 

Liu Ding, Friendship No.1, 2010 (background) / "Friendship No.2" 2010 (foreground), wood, paint, white marble, water, plant, terracotta pot, lamp, dimension varies with installation (wooden table 23.6 x 200 x 110 cm), Installation view at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China.

Liu Ding, Table, 2008, Stainless steel, chewing gum, a razor, edition of 4, 160 x 86 x 72 cm, Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

Liu Ding, "CCTV" 2009, edition of 2 (CN 1/2, EN 2/2), C-prints, 36 pieces, each 34 x 29 cm, Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

Liu Ding, Thought Processes Laid Bare in Text on Landscape Photographs

Liu Ding, Encountering Matisse Twice, 2009, edition of 2 (CN 1/2, EN 2/2), Photo collage, 115 x 91 cm, Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

Liu Ding, Art Is Everywhere, 2009, edition of 2 (CN 1/2, EN 2/2), C-print, 115 x 91 cm, Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

Liu Ding, Descriptive, Narrative, Descriptive, Narrative, 2009, Wood, porcelain, 84 x 36 x 38 cm. Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

 

Galerie Urs Meile
Rosenberghöhe 4
+ 41 41 420 33 18
Lucerne
I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts
– Liu Ding

April 18-July 4, 2009

I Wrote Down Some of My Thoughts presents a recent series of works by artist Liu Ding, which reveals yet another important aspect of the multiplicities of his practice. The artist has commenced on this artistic adventure since the beginning of 2008, when he started to hand-write his strings of thoughts on black and white photographs that he had taken of a beautiful landscape early on. These thoughts recorded his contemplations on the medium of photography and the relationship between our visual memory/experience and the reality it’s based on. Rather than drawing any conclusion on this subject matter, the artist made bare his unprocessed process of thinking, remaining truthful to the occasional struggles the artist was having with his own thoughts, deliciously raw and thought-provoking.

After that, the artist further explored this way of working by inscribing on a series of used furniture, which he turned into a room installation. In both groups of works, the objects he chose to write on, be it photography or furniture items, together with the process of writing became a courier for his deliberation. Often the texts were drawn from his own deliberation, about art itself, or concerning his perception of certain phenomena, experience and ideology. Although most of his writings use the first person in narration, we can always derive from his discussions issues that we can relate to or have experience of.

In this exhibition, the artist relies on a selection of very specific and precise examples for his story-telling: printed reproductions of artworks, crafts, an altered map, photographs and mostly ready-made items that the artist regrouped or edited. He wrote down his perceptions and insights gained through them on them. They communicate his re-considerations of his own perceptions or experiences and awareness of a more universal nature.

These “reconsiderations” imply a possibility for yet more “reconsiderations”. As the artist offers his “reconsiderations”, he also reminds us of the endless possibilities for re-perceptions of these perceptions. What these “re-perceptions” are about isn’t as important as the act of “re-perceiving” itself. It urges us to keep an active gaze, tirelessly re-examining the intellectual foundation that supports and positions us and what we call “experience”. Every piece of work in this exhibition is related to each other, situated within the coordinates of the artist’s system of thoughts.

Writing on the work:
Table, 2008 — This is a stainless steel table. At the left hand front corner of the table, a razor blade is stuck in a chewing gum on the table. On the table, there is a personal story carved on the tabletop with this razor blade. The story reads, "I have been living on my own for ten years now. Everyday, I get out of bed around noon. I leave my house at 1pm, Then I would spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around in the streets. I would always do one thing during this time. I would call my own phone number from a public telephone. No one is at home waiting for my call. I do that just for myself to see the number shown up in my phone when I go home late at night. I am so lonely."

CCTV, 2009 — Every time I pass by the new CCTV building, I was always truck by a sense of magic. This is an unusual building. Beijingers nickname it as a pair of underpants. I like this twisted architecture. In a totalitarian state, oderliness is of extreme importance. The government that embodies the inventiveness of a society has tolerated such a distortion in its order.Yet the people who are used to orderliness find it difficult to accept.

Encountering Matisse Twice — In 1987, I saw this black and white print of Matisse's work, casual, inventive, peaceful, uninhibited. I was enchanted. I was hoping to reach a world as carefree as his. All I could do was copying and copying his work. In 2009, I saw this work again in color in an auction catalogue, with a very refinded frame, a famous and sophisticated owner, in a handsome house, with beautiful decorations and delicate flowers. Everything was so graceful and classic. Fame, politics, public recognition, and money has unified everything under one roof.

Art is Everywhere, 2009 — This is a food fridge in the Tate Museum. It is placed in a clean corner. I mistook it for a work of art. Yet it seems quite dull. It's hard to decide. My experience has determined every possible way of perception that I can have. I need to learn to view things from a new perspective.

• Hero, 2007 — The Hero is one of my many investigations into the formation of popular tastes. It is a head portrait made of purely white marble and strictly following the Russian revolutionary realist tradition in sculpting that was introduced to Chinese academic art training in the 1950s and is still the primary model most sculpture students have to study in art academies in China. It's the standard approach to create large public monuments and socialist realist sculptures intended for party propaganda. Based on this model, to sculpt the head portrait of a heroic figure or a celebrity means to blow up the size of the head to 1.5 times of its life size and to highlight every facial feature through exaggeration, as a way to glorify his state of being. The head portrait is also set to look towards the right at an angle of 45 degrees. I created a heroic head sculpture using the same method, except that it is one of an anonymous person instead of a particular hero. In addition, I have deliberately placed this "Hero" sculpture in the outdoor for a long while until the sculpture was covered with bird shit and dirt, a defiant and ironic twist on our perception of the Hero.

We tend to become emotionally involved in subject matters that were invented, 2009 — Let's suppose this is a beginning for discussion.

Liu Ding, Hero, 2007, 3/8, White marble, black marble, 210 x ø 30 cm, Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.

Liu Ding, We tend to become emotionally involved in subject matters that were invented, 2009, Iron, 85 x 81 x 72 cm, Courtesy: Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.