PRINT January 2012


Whether slicing through refrigerators and washing machines, digging trenches in gallery floors, or erecting bristling, kaleidoscopic structures made from demolition debris, Beijing-based artist LIU WEI engages the realities of our contemporary infrastructure with a singular intensity. For him, the corporeal surplus of burgeoning consumerism and near-frantic urbanization in China and in the world at large—the junked appliances, the scraps of wood and metal—is a vehicle of rupture and disturbance, a means by which to both figure and counter the destabilizing forces of sociopolitical transformation. Here, curator and critic PAULINE J. YAO looks at a practice that unlocks the renewed critical capacities of matter itself.

Liu Wei, Merely a Mistake I (detail), 2010, oxhide, iron, cement, acrylic board, books, fiberglass netting, wood, oil painting. Installation view, Long March Space, Beijing.

VISITORS TO BEIJING are invariably astonished by the profusion of vehicles clogging the city’s roadways: bicycles, tricycles, mopeds, carts, and aluminum-clad

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