The Unconventional Art of Liu Wei: His Most Outrageous Acts of Art and the Messages They Send




Controversial artist Liu Wei has gained worldwide notoriety for his rather bedazzling way of creating artworks that run counter to mainstream values and norms, bringing to light issues such as censorship and consumerism in modern art (to name just a few). However, because his works don’t really translate into our language very well, it is often difficult to understand what Liu Wei really wants to tell us.





What is the message about? 

Liu Wei's art is often shocking, but always thought-provoking and insightful. 


Through his work, he sends a message to society about our human nature. China has experienced rapid change in recent years, and people have been forced to adapt quickly. In order to survive, many are doing things they would never have considered doing in the past. In such an environment, it becomes difficult for people to maintain their humanity and stay true to themselves. 


The average person (and this goes for the modern man overall, not only in China, obviously) struggles with self-image issues, as well as addiction, loneliness, depression, and other emotional problems that are statistically only increasing compared to earlier periods in human history when people hypothetically had much less comfort and security and in theory ought to have been more depressed. This interesting trend ("a more comfortable life, more depression and anxiety") underlies much of this artist’s work.


Deeper motivations 

Liu's art has been described as provocative, taboo-breaking, and sometimes emotionally violent. There’s also more beneath. What is disturbing about his work is not so much the violence, but rather its implications for human nature. Through the use of hyper-realistic statues depicting conflicted imagery, Liu seems to be showing the viewer that violence is an innate part of our nature. 


With this in mind, it becomes clear why he includes such depictions in his work; they are an attempt to show what we might be capable of if we let our impulses run wild, which is becoming more likely with the emergence of emotional problems. 


Even deeper motifs than that (you'll have to do some work on your own here) 

As you uncover more of Wei's work, you will find even deeper hidden motives. Here are a few we have discovered. See if you find them interesting. If you discover these motifs in your analysis, check the box.


  • In a world where we are so often sold false promises, he is reminding us that there are no shortcuts, only hard work. 


  • In a world where many feel powerless, he is telling them to find their voice. 


  • And in our culture's self-obsession, he is asking us to care for one another first.

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