Liu Wentao (b. 1973)

Liu Wentao was born in 1973 in Qingdao, Shandong province, China. In 1993, he enrolled at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China, and majored in intaglio printmaking. He graduated in 1997 and proceeded he worked for Foundation Pillar | Joan Miro in Mallorca, Spain and the University of Massachusetts, USA in 2000 and 2004, respectively. Liu graduated with an MFA from the Department of Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts in 2005. He worked for the School of Urban Design in the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. Liu is currently living and working in Beijing.


Liu Wentao’s pencil drawings are composed of intricately constructed straight lines, retracting in density and alternating in distance. The interweaving of simple straight lines on the flat canvas results in a material conversation and superposition. The refraction of light caused by the lead’s texture interacts with the diverse, three-dimensional geometrical canvas frames, using a minimalist method to present the transformation of light and space to the viewer.


As an experimenter of form, Liu Wentao regards the void of the canvas as the starting point of his works. Liu’s dark lead pencil strokes are not created to manufacture meaning. Instead, they endlessly contribute to a combined dialectical relationship between “nothingness” and “presence”. His recent experimentations in depicting spatial forms based on computer models simultaneously displays presence and boundlessness. Such boundlessness does not signify a disappearance of “nothingness”, instead, it demonstrates the potentials that could stem from it.


Liu Wentao has held various solo exhibitions such as Meta (2018), White Space Beijing, China; Liu Wentao Works (2015), ZAN Art Museum, Qingdao, China; Xuan (2014), White Space Beijing, China; Light and Shadow (2012), Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Liu Wentao Artworks (2009), The German Embassy in China, Beijing, China; Time and Writing (2008), White Space Beijing, China; Liu Wentao Artworks (2007), Yun Gallery, Beijing, China; and Liu Wentao Solo Show (2001), QW Gallery, New York City, USA. His group shows include Message from the Ruin (2016), A+ Contemporary, Taipei, Taiwan; The world is yours, as well as ours (2016), White Cube, London, UK; Art Project 24: Naissance (2015), Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; The 2nd Chinese Young Artists Selected Printmaking Exhibition (2013), Qingdao, Shanghai, Shengzhen, Beijing, New York City; Das Ich Im Anderen (2011), Mercator Foundation, Essen, Germany; Chen Guangwu | Fang Lijun | Liu Wentao (2008), Asian Art Museum, Berlin, Germany; Qing Dao International Printmaking Exhibition (2000), Qingdao Art Museum, Qingdao, China; and New Art from China (1997), Flanders Contemporary Art, USA.