4 May - 30 Jun 2018

Liu Wa's first solo exhibition fuses tech and art, creating a breaking wave in the sea of the former generation of Chinese painters.


Emerging artist, Liu Wa’s debut to Europe’s art scene is a venture into the little-know waters of neuroscience and the future of painting.


SABSAY is thrilled to announce the opening of ‘Glimpse: A Passing Look’, a solo exhibition by Liu Wa, comprising an immersive installation of color-coded paintings, exploring the multifaceted interplay between technology, art, and man.


Adapting the time-honoured Chinese painting tradition, Liu Wa merges silky brushstrokes with of-the-minute technology. The paintings on show are consummate evocations of texture and anatomy deeply understood, exacting the form of untouchable human bodies as they are being engulfed in an ecological apocalypse. Smoothly applied through the acrylic onto the canvases, the scenes only fully appear under the light of a digital color system. The experience is triggered by the viewer’s brainwaves via the tracking by an electroencephalogram (EEG) headband.

“In different states of mind, one will perceive the same paintings differently. As one viewer controls the color of the environment through her brainwaves, others can also see what she sees. I intend to question the boundaries between reality and illusion as well as self and other,” the artist explains and continues: “The real appearance of the paintings remains unknown, alluding to one’s perceptions of the external world, both subjective and fluid. Simplistic understandings of the other obscure the truth and easily lead to friction among religious groups and social classes”.


Following the implementation of China’s Reform and Opening Up policy, the country’s policies on culture and art have changed significantly through the last 30 years, producing noteworthy Chinese painters such as Zhang Xiaogang and Yue Minjun. While the works of this generation often respond to socio-political themes linked with the post-Mao era, Liu Wa’s generation of artists represent a new epoch, bearing the marks of new realities of a different China. The realities of rapid urbanization, environmental crisis, and the intense digitalization of an age can all be traced in Liu Wa’s exhibition.


“The development of contemporary technology has marked a new era of completely different media within the arts. It is interesting to see how young artists so fervently immerse into the technological opportunities. Liu Wa’s exhibition at SABSAY is a bright example of graceful overlaying of the traditional and the cutting edge”, says Masha Faurschou, founder of SABSAY.


About Liu Wa 


Born in Beijing, China, 1994, Liu Wa graduated in 2017 from Yale University, USA, with a B.A in Anthropology and a B.A in Art. Currently living and working in New York and Beijing, she works in such media as painting, installation, and new media art. Recent exhibitions include: Art Nova 100, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2017; Heart of the Tin Man, M Woods Museum, Beijing, China, 2017; All happens after sunset, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, Shanghai, China, 2017; Art Utopia, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2016, and Arts First Festival, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, 2015.