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Liu Ke : Ocean by My Left

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
11 January, 2023
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
11 February, 2023
Event Category:
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In the historical context, the term ‘left’ has always represented a radical, variable, unpredictable, and mobile state, which resembles the deep and vast ‘ocean’. Meanwhile, the opposite side represents a constant and coherent state, which is constructed by the subjectivity of human beings. At the cliff of the border where the two infuse into each other, I experience the state of extremity, a state where inspirations surge up.

— Liu Ke


(11 January 2023, Hong Kong) Whitestone Gallery H Queen’s is honored to present ‘Ocean by My Left’, the first solo exhibition of Chinese artist Liu Ke in Whitestone’s gallery space in Hong Kong. This exhibition presents the artist’s symbolic line paintings, and a series of works that originates from the concept of ‘conflict’, presenting a spatial experience that exceeds abstractionism, coalescing concepts of philosophy, history and narrative quality.


‘Rationality’ and ‘interrelationship’ have been the fundamental components of Liu Ke’s artwork. In the limited space of the canvas, the artist observes the relationship between the dense vertical lines and the wide brushstrokes. The careful permutation of the elements creates tension between the entities as they press against each other in the picture, congregating a concentrated force in the narrow space between objects. Despite the rational substructure of the painting, the vortex-like brushstrokes and abstract symbols sometimes intrude into the pictures, breaking the rigidity of the compositions. For the artist, this is an act of confronting rationality.


In relation to the exhibition title, ‘Ocean by My Left’, a painting series characterized by the blue and black dichotomy is presented. Blue symbolizes translucency on the grounds of the latitude of the color in temperature and brightness, fluidity, unknown and freedom; Black symbolizes solidity and a structural construction. The two independent hues started to infuse into each other when placed together in Liu Ke’s painting. The artist consistently examines the potential of the two-dimensional realm in the painting. Using the uttermost elemental expression, he often reflects on the history of Western Art, which seems to be the extension of the artist’s identity as a scholar. For instance, ‘The Woman Coming Down the Stairs’ series takes inspiration from Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2” (1912). The artist studies the sense of rhythm and the dynamic overlapping  colors in the original work while adapting a different two-dimensional interpretation of the moving image. In addition, Liu Ke started to incorporate casements in his paintings in recent years. He believes the device creates a dual ‘passage’ between the viewers and the two-dimensional painting, allowing the viewers to voyage through a ‘vortex’ that entangles the conflicts and everyday emotional fragment. While investigating the dichotomy and the contextual relationship between the material sense and spiritual sense of the entities in the painting, he created his very own language of abstract expressionism.


About the artist:

Born in 1976 in Ningxiang, Hunan, Liu Ke graduated from the Department of Oil Painting of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2003. He is currently a professor at the Academy, the Vice Dean of the School of Painting and the Head of the Department of Oil Painting. He is also the Executive Director of the Boxes Art Museum and the founder of Sabaki Space in Guangzhou. He has held several solo exhibitions including ‘THE PROBLEM OF UNTITLED’ (2022), ‘MY HEART IS STREAM’ (2021), ‘Object Liberty’ (2019), and ‘Montagne Sainte-Victoire’ (2018).


Exhibition period: 11 Jan – 11 Feb 2023

Opening reception: 5 – 8pm, 11 January  Wednesday

Whitestone Gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm

(Sunday by appointment only, closed on Monday and public holidays)

For further enquiries, please contact:

[email protected]

+852 2523 8001  


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