Member of the China Artists Association, Chinese Female Painter Association, Beijing Women Artists Association and Beijing Tensai Painting Society. Liu is the Associate Professor and postgraduate tutor at the Fine Arts Department, College of Fine Arts, Capital Normal University.
From the beginning of 00s, Liu has started showcasing her work at museums and art galleries world-wide (China, Hong Kong, the United States, Switzerland, France, Canada, South Korea and so forth). Her work has been included in major international exhibitions such as Art Basel and China Art Exposition. Throughout her career, Liu and her work have widely covered by press and critically acclaimed.
American art critics Lydia Thompson, PH.D commented:
Liu Yan’s works combine the materials and techniques of traditional Chinese painting with Western representational modes and imagery. Liu Yan creates a collage-like painting surface from China’s cultural detritus: pages of old books, gold foil, mulberry paper and reproductions of famous imperial portraits of a Qing Emperor and Empress. She then works in a pastiche of imagery and icons from traditional China and contemporary international popular culture, revealing the tensions that lie beneath China’s popular culture, revealing the tensions that lie beneath China’s integration into global culture. Rock and roll stars with mohawk hairstyles, punk costumes and spike collars painted in neon colour are juxtaposed with Peking opera actors. Their exaggerated expressions and postures resonate with the masked, elaborately costumed opera figure, erstwhile stars of pre-revolutionary China. The Peking opera actor appears mournful, perhaps witnessing his demise as a cultural icon.
Changing gender roles and sexual desire also figure prominently in Liu Yan’s work. Women wearing the dress and chignons of Imperial China are rendered in traditional ink painting technique, their bodies hidden by their flowing robes. By contrast, the bodies of modern-day women are evolved in various states of dress and undress. A Western woman in a short frock and high heals bends over provocatively. A more demurely dressed woman touches the shoulder of a half-naked woman who looks out from behind a Peking opera mask. In Enjoyment in Destruction, a bare-chested woman clutches her breasts and screams, her face bound with rope. All of these images suggest the unleashing of repressed sexual desire. Traditional figures look on, eyes bulging, mouths open in dismay. The highly animated calligraphic line of their robes if evocative of their disturbed emotional state.
In The Man’s World and The Woman’s World, Liu Yan uses the highly formal mode of imperial portraiture to signify gender roles in traditional China. Supreme emblems of dynastic China’s state and society, the Emperor and Empress, are represented frontally and symmetrically seated on elaborate thrones. All traces of their bodies and their sexuality are hidden by imperial robes and headdresses. Their dignified role as exemplars of social decorum and political power is violated by the debauched behaviour of the figures around them. Barely clad women straddle the imperial couple’s laps. They are surrounded by a rogues’ gallery of modern icons of political and cultural power including Mao Zedong and his wife, Jiang Qing, Salvador Dali and Madonna. In The Woman’s World, two women in court garb kiss while a female People’s Liberation Army soldier aims her gun at the forces of desire that threaten to overwhelm traditional Chinese culture and values.
The layered cultural references and jarring juxtapositions of Liu Yan’s work reveal the tensions beneath changing attitudes towards desire and the collision of cultures in a global age.
The State University of New York, Buffalo State, School of Arts and Humanities, visiting scholar, representative of China
Capital Normal University, faculty of Chinese painting, MA
Beijing Normal University, Fine Arts Department, faculty of Chinese painting, BA (Hons)
"60 60 - Contemporary Chinese Painting, Post 60s Artists Nomination Exhibition", National Political Consultative Hall, Beijing, China
"Chinese Contemporary Ink Master - special exhibition in Tokyo", Chinese Culture Center, Tokyo, Japan
"For teaching, learning and Art" - Capital Normal University 60th Anniversary Exhibition" National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
"Bare, Naked & Nude", Noel - Bazaar Fine Art, San Diego, USA
"SCOPE Art Fair", Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, USA,
"Art Chicago", Eli Klein Fine Art, Chicago, USA,
"Resolve Surrealism", Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, USA
"Art Basel - Art Fair Miami Beach", Virginia Miller Galleries, Art Basel, Miami, USA
"Six 20th Century Chinese New Pop Artist": Virginia Miller Galleries, Miami USA, and Van Cliff Art Gallery, San Diego, USA
"Capital Normal University - Gongbi Creation and Research Exhibition" National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
"Neoclassic. Restatement of Academic Art - Higher Education in Art, Master of Chinese Painting - National Exhibition", National Museum of China, Beijing, China
"Outstanding Young Artist Nomination Exhibition", Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
"Painting on Photograph - Collaborative Exhibition of French photographers and Chinese artists", Le Jardin d'Acclimatation, Paris, France
Buddha-Mind, Divine Landscape
Ink Colour, Gold Foil on Silk
28 × 64 cm
Shen Xiang Salvage His Mum at Mount Hua
Acrylic, Gold Foil, Ink Colour on Silk
28 × 64 cm
Ink Colour on Silk
28 × 58 cm
Ink Colour on Paper
36 × 70 cm
Ink Colour on Paper
28 × 61 cm