Liao Guohe: Devil Empire

Opening: September 9, 2017

Exhibition Dates: September 9 – October 15, 2017


Boers-Li Gallery is pleased to present Liao Guohe’s solo exhibition “Devil Empire” (Its Chinese title is an accented transliteration of the letter, “X”), these new paintings in large dimension on view at the gallery follow a similar vein from his solo exhibition, “Ten Thousand Houses” at the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum in 2016.


Known for the fictitious, irreverent, and often satirical approach of making perverse, bold and even offensive images, Liao Guohe draws an array of subject matters that is unspeakable to the point of requiring “self-censorship”, into his paintings. As it is suggested in the title of this exhibition (and further subtle ties lie in its Chinese translation, as well as to the poster image), this exhibition focuses particularly on the macroscopic issues of Chinese politics and society. These subject matters retrieved from mass media, news channels and social media are often sensitive in nature. To which, Liao does not offer any definitive commentaries on these current social or political issues, but have left it to the viewer to piece together one’s own interpretations through his visual cues. For the dragon climbing up the letter “J” set against a half painted black backdrop, the man defecating coins on top of an enclave of buildings, or the round white dots intentionally left unpainted, viewers have to look beyond the superficial and the semantics to grasp the complex social and political realities behind their visual veil. Among them, the notion of “justice” has been one of Liao Guohe’s central themes, and Liao’s multi-faceted visual presentations of this very notion in this exhibition continue to challenge the threshold of moral and ethical values.


The new paintings in this exhibition do not sway from the artist’s established “system of techniques”, or according to the existing traditions of painting - Chinese or Western -the lack thereof. Whether it is the whimsical contour of the figures, the spray paint and blotches on the background of a painting, or simply fill the entire unbound canvas in black one mark at a time, and leaving only a corner to write down its title, are the ways by which the artist delivers his message. Moreover, Liao Guo he has become increasingly keen on playing with the subtlety and discrepancy between the written words and letters and the visual components of the painting. This is also a central device in deciphering the semantics and its relationship to visual representation.


Liao Guohe, born in 1977, has recently relocated his studio to Beijing. His works were the subject of solo exhibitions at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum in 2016 and Sifang Art Museum in 2014. He has participated in group shows include, Drawing Pogo at Taikang Space (2017), Le Grand Balcon: La Biennale de Montreal at the Musée Contemporaine de Montreal, Canada (2016); A Hundred Years of Shame – Songs of Resistance and Scenarios for Chinese Nations, Para Site, Hong Kong (2015).