Liu Ye (B. 1964) She is so Beautiful

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Lot 12
Liu Ye (B. 1964)
She is so Beautiful

Sold for HK$ 6,252,500 (US$ 796,789) inc. premium
Liu Ye (B. 1964)
She is so Beautiful
2000

signed in Chinese and Pinyin and dated 2000 on the lower right
acrylic on canvas

46 x 38 cm (18 1/8 × 14 15/16 in)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Sale: Poly International Auction Co., Ltd., Chinese Oil Paintings, 4 June 2006, Lot 00005
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

    Exhibited
    London, Chinese Contemporary Gallery, Liu Ye: Fellini, A Guardsman, Mondrian, The Pope and My Girlfriend, April 2001

    Literature
    Chinese Contemporary, Liu Ye: Fellini, A Guardsman, Mondrian, The Pope and My Girlfriend. exh. cat., London, 2001, p. 21, illustrated in colour
    Hubei Fine Arts Publishing House, The First Triennial of Chinese Arts, China, 2002, p. 64, illustrated in colour
    Christoph Noe, Ed., Liu Ye Catalogue Raisonné 1991-2015, Berlin, 2015, p. 295, no. 00-13, illustrated in colour

    劉野
    她是如此美麗
    壓克力畫布
    2000年作

    簽名:2000 野 Liu Ye(右下)

    來源
    拍賣:北京保利國際拍賣有限公司,「中國油畫」,2006年6月4日,拍品編號00005
    現藏家得自上述來源

    展覽
    「劉野:費里尼、衛兵、蒙德里安、教皇和我的女友」,倫敦中國當代藝術畫廊,2001年4月

    出版
    《「劉野:費里尼、衛兵、蒙德里安、教皇和我的女友」展覽圖錄》,中國當代藝術畫廊,倫敦,2001年,第21頁,彩圖
    《首屆中國藝術三年展》,湖北美術出版社,武漢,2002年,第64頁,彩圖
    《劉野作品全集1991-2015》,Christoph Noe編著,柏林,2015年,第295頁,00-13號,彩圖

    She is so Beautiful is another work that exemplifies Liu Ye's tribute to the western masters through his masterful use of colour and space. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Liu Ye retained only the dramatic atmosphere from his practice and stripped away most of the other extraneous factors. As such, the format of his paintings has become more uncomplicated and absolute — the near-monotone background makes the figures more striking. Art critic Zhu Zhu explained that Liu Ye's succinct treatment of the background is a marriage between Mondrian's abstraction and the use of empty spaces in traditional Chinese painting. In She is so Beautiful, we witness a pivotal change in Liu Ye's artistic career — by enveloping the subject with a simple background, the picture is imbued with a sense of intimacy and peaceful quietude.

    She is so Beautiful emanates a sense of mystique — poetic, balanced, and calm, its harmonious palette is reminiscent of the still life works by Giorgio Morandi. The relaxed and clean brushwork as well as the simple treatment of light and shadow position this work between a flat depiction and a three-dimensional rendering. Not only do the empty background and the reduced imagery filter out all temporal and spatial cues, but they also reject any direct narratives. The way that this work processes complex issues with simplicity is very much akin to Constantin Brancusi's minimalistic approach. Both artists adopt a bare-bones strategy that emphasises the clarity of lines in order to highlight the internal spirit of the subject matter.

    She is so Beautiful speaks to Liu Ye's understanding of beauty and his emotional reaction to it. The face of the female figure in the painting is refreshingly elegant. Its oval shape exudes an amiable personality. The openness of her wide-set eyebrows as well as the clarity of her black irises conveys a sense of warmth and tenderness. Her mouth and nose are diminutively sized and delicate. The contour of her face is gentle without any angularity. Overall, the subject projects a sense of internal peace. The subtle blush on her cheeks complements the strong vermillion on her lips, and her skin glows in a classically soft tone. The warmth of her palette radiates femininity and tranquillity.

    The subject's expression is placid and demure. The slightly upturned corners of her mouth suggest a smile. Introverted yet at ease, her mature composure is tinged with the sweetness of youth. The curves of her shoulders and breasts contrast with the straight lines of her swan neck and raven hair to create an impeccable sense of figurative beauty. The upper half of the figure commands the entire painting surface. The centre part of her hair draws a straight line down the ridge of her nose and follows the median of her sternum and stomach. Her perfectly smooth hair drapes on her narrow shoulders, the lines continue down her arms and outside of the canvas. The symmetry of this work conveys a graceful sense of openness and balance.

    Liu Ye is not projecting his own fantasies on the female gender, nor is he trying to visualise his obsession with the female body. To him, they are the medium on which the artist can manifest the ideals of human beauty. The style employed in She is so Beautiful is lyrical and exquisitely rendered. It highlights the graceful and ethereal aspects of the subject. It is a kind of beauty that is subdued and unblemished. This treatment is reminiscent of Botticelli's iconic depiction of Venus. And like the Roman goddess who is the embodiment of love and beauty, the woman whom Liu Ye depicts symbolises the coming of truth, goodness, and beauty. With innocence and empathy, she seeks to resonate with the viewers' sense of beauty within their collective memories. The direct and natural use of warm tones translates to a much more intuitive use of colours. Both artists utilised the most primordial hues to paint directly on the canvas. The way in which these basic tones synergise with each other heightens the emotive power of the pictures. Such guileless yet powerful brilliance is comparable to sunlight itself poured onto the canvases.

    Between 2002 and 2006, Liu Ye painted a series of female nude portraits. In these works, the figures either avert their gazes or turn their torsos away from the viewers and cover themselves with their hands — a certain degree of bashfulness is unmistakable. The way in which the figure in She is so Beautiful so candidly faces the viewers frontally is exceptional. Her lean torso and arms are perfectly posed, and her subtly visible collarbones indicate an ideal level of litheness. The superior physique of this young woman exudes a sense of irresistible allure that inspires admiration from the viewers.

    The figure in She is so Beautiful does not feign modesty. Her forthrightness can also be found in the subject of Standing Nude (Elvira) by Amedeo Modigliani. The woman in Modigliani's painting looks squarely at the viewers. Without a hint of pretentiousness, she exemplifies with confidence the eternal beauty of the human nude. Liu Ye also attempts to subvert the relationship between the subject and the viewer by manipulating the gaze from a female perspective. The woman in the painting gazes at the viewers intently. Her expression is relaxed and natural. Yet it is not without a hint of coyness. It is worth pondering that not only does her countenance convey a sense of confidence in beauty itself, but it is also a re-enactment of the intimate exchange of gazes between her and the artist. In Ways of Seeing, John Berger explained, "To look is an act of choice. ... We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves". The woman in the painting is not surrendering herself to the gazes of the viewers. The way in which she actively meets their gazes head-on shifts the power away from the viewers and onto herself.

    Liu Ye expressed during an interview, "I believe beauty is the sole means to save the world". As the most iconic milestone in Liu Ye's artistic career, She is so Beautiful thoroughly expresses a distilled and transcendental version of the human nude. At the same time, it re-examines how women can position themselves in art history. It is an exquisite work with an astonishingly sophisticated message.

    《她是如此美麗》為今次拍賣中展現劉野對於西方大師色彩及空間完美升華的又一佳作。踏入二十一世紀,劉野的作品開始僅保留簡約而強烈的戲劇化氛圍,圖畫形式變得單純而實在,近乎單色的背景只聚焦於一兩個人物。藝評家朱朱表示,劉野這種對背景的精簡處理手法,仿佛介於蒙特里安的抽象與中國傳統繪畫的空白感之間。《她是如此美麗》見證劉野藝術生涯的重要轉捩點,他利用單純的背景色包圍人物,為畫面同時注入如春日和煦的明媚以及寂靜祥和之感。

    《她是如此美麗》散發著一種朦朧隱秘的氣息,和諧的色調不禁讓人聯想起莫蘭迪的靜物世界,平衡安靜的畫面詩意盎然。劉野透過輕鬆的筆觸與簡潔的光影處理,使作品穿梭在平面化和立體感之間。虛空的背景及畫面的純化不僅過濾了時間性與空間感,亦避免了過於直接的情節敍述。這種以簡馭繁的表現方式與布朗庫西的極簡風格同出一轍,兩者的創作均趨向精煉,強調簡潔的線條,著重突出形體的內蘊特質。

    劉野藉著《她是如此美麗》直抒個人對美的解讀與感動。畫中女子容貌秀美,有著平易近人的橢圓形臉龐、寬展的眉眼,清澈黑亮的雙眸中透露著溫婉平和的眼神,鼻子與嘴巴端正而小巧。人物的臉部綫條柔和,沒有明確的稜角,整體呈現一種内在的平和感。她的臉頰紅暈微染,與濃重的朱唇相映襯,加上輕柔而古典的膚色光彩,溫暖的色調交織出嬌柔的靜謐。

    女子的表情平寧靦腆,微翹的嘴角隱含笑意,予人內斂沉穩的印象,成熟當中又滲透著幾分少女的甜美。其嘴唇、胳膊和乳房的弧綫與特別頎長的頸部和筆直的烏黑秀髮產生對比,結合出無可挑剔的人間美感。人物以半身像佔據了畫面的主體,從頭髮分界、鼻樑到腹部肌理連成一直綫,順滑的頭髮輕披著窄窄的肩膀,綫條隨著手臂延申至畫面外,對稱的構圖傳達出恬然雅致的平衡感。

    劉野並非嘗試通過作品以映射對女性的幻想,也不是隱示對女性身形的着迷;她們是藝術家渴望再現人體美感的載體。《她是如此美麗》以細潤而恬淡的詩意風格,強調模特兒秀美與清純一面,表露出一種含蓄、無垢的美麗,令人聯想起波提切利建構的經典女神形象。一如愛與美之化身的維納斯,劉野筆下的女子象徵真善美的降臨,以純樸、靈性的姿態引起共鳴,成為觀者對於美的共享記憶。整體簡樸自然的暖色調繼承了高更高純度的顔色運用,兩位藝術家都以最原始的色彩直接塗抹在畫布上,運用顔色之間的相互襯托來烘染畫面的穿透力,如此單純樸實卻又流光溢彩,仿佛將陽光注入作品上。

    劉野在2000年至2006年間創作了一系列裸體女性肖像,其中主角可能是眼神迴避,又或以側身示人並以手部遮掩身體,流露若干害羞之情,極少見如《她是如此美麗》中人物坦然正向觀眾的安排。模特兒纖細的腰身與雙臂完美展露,加上若隱若現的鎖骨,呈現出一種均稱而光潔的骨感,健康的年輕女性身形彌散著一縷嫵媚感,無法抗拒的韻味使人縈繞於心。

    在《她是如此美麗》中,人物姿態不帶半點矯揉造作,與莫迪里安尼於《女性裸體,站立(埃爾維拉)》裏所構建的人間女性形象互相呼應。莫迪里安尼畫中的女子率直地注視觀者,利用鮮明直率的造型以正面展示毫不做作而永恆的裸體美。劉野亦試圖以女性凝視的角度撼動被塑造者與觀者之間的關係︰女子凝視觀者,目光專注而耐人尋味,視線輕鬆自然,多了一份矜持,一方面散發出對美的自信,同時重現了當時模特兒與藝術家之間某種親密的精神交流。約翰.伯格在《觀看的方式》中提到:「『凝視』是一種選擇的行為......我們關注的從來不只是事物本身,我們凝視的永遠是事物和我們之間的關係。」畫中女子不再是被動乖順的觀賞對象,其正面進取的眼神,把觀者本來擁有的主導權,無聲地轉移到自己的身上。

    劉野曾在訪問中言道︰ 「我認為美感是可以拯救世界的唯一形式。」 《她是如此美麗》作爲劉野創作生涯中具標誌性的里程碑作品,充分表現了純粹、極致的人體美感,亦重新審視女性在藝術歷史中的自我位置感,為意義重大的驚艷之作。

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Liu Ye (B. 1964) She is so Beautiful
Liu Ye (B. 1964) She is so Beautiful
Liu Ye (B. 1964) She is so Beautiful
Liu Ye (B. 1964) She is so Beautiful
Liu Ye (B. 1964) She is so Beautiful
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