Born in Beijing in 1964, Liu Ye studied industrial design and mural painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts before moving to Germany to pursue an MFA at the Fine Arts University in Berlin. His work has been exhibited extensively in China and Germany, and is well represented in the Uli Sigg Collection of contemporary Chinese art in Switzerland. Best-known for his colorful cartoon like characters in playful, naughty adolescent scenes, the artist has conspicuously chosen to steer away from politics and focus his artwork on human emotions.
Liu Ye is best-known for his colorful cartoon like characters in playful, naughty adolescent scenes. Influenced by Mondrian and abstract art, Liu Ye uses the color schemes and patterns of a Mondrian -- and even images from Mondrian's works -- and sets them in China, with young girls, bearing a breast, smoking, acting childlike or closing their eyes to enter a dream like state. Unlike many contemporary artists he has steered away from politics and chosen to focus on human emotions -- and childlike images. Liu Ye studied at Mural Painting Dept. at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989, then he went to Berlin to sdudied at Hochschule der Bildence Kunst. He lives and works in Beijing now.
In Liu Ye's art, humor and sadness blend into a whole. The stillness of his ironic images provide us with a deep sense of detachment and timeless freedom. Part of the post 89' avant garde movement, his art is disinterested in the external flux taking place in modern China. Instead, Liu captures the inner solitude and vulnerability of the artist in face of the enormous changes taking place on a global scale and in Chinese society.
Liu Ye has a highly individualistic attitude towards art, the world he creates is a personal and intimate space of concepts and thought, he reflects a personal realm which is saturated in the general mood he lives in. Liu Ye's art displays enchanting and cute figures of naïve people, sometimes as famous as the pope, Fellini and Buster Keaton, in paradoxical contexts or still colorful backgrounds, the initial happiness we encounter is on the verge of slipping into melancholy while the subtle humor in the images propels one to think and investigate the unique world on the canvas.
Today, one of China's best selling contemporary artists, Liu Ye is a striking example of a Chinese artist exploring his own internal world through external and anonymous figures and western icons. Most of his work is done in bright, vivid and warm colors while the more melancholic ones are toned down to dark and cold blues.