WAN LIYA (CHINA)
LET IT BE is the name of a series of wildly colored sculptures by Chinese artist Wan Liya, which are shown in Brussels for the first time. These brilliant works of clay, draped in richly colored glazes make visible the electrifying clash between the form of a standard vessel, and the spectacular properties of glazing to bring such form to life. Both oddly elegant and playful, the ceramics by Wan Liya reveal that he is an artist of many skills and talents. He has had a long career experimenting with different art forms. Besides working with ceramics Wan paints and builds installations, often combining porcelain with other materials. His sculptural designs are firmly grounded within the traditions of his inheritance as a Chinese artist as well as his exposure to the many styles and materials of global contemporary ceramics.
Born in Qingdao, China, in the 1960s, a port city in Eastern China’s Shandong province Wan came late to art. His early life was marred by China’s Cultural Revolution and art was not a profession one could freely pursue. Wan worked as a merchant shipper for the first part of his working life, then turned to art towards the end of the last century. Liya is known to be among the earliest artists to turn to contemporary ceramic art and he has been involved in many significant art activities that greatly influenced the progress of the modernization of Chinese ceramic art.
Colored surfaces with contrasting colors and textures are the defining elements of the works in LET IT BE. Each artwork is like a painted ceramic creation, with thick glazes. The artist first manipulates and then allows the glaze to find its own place on the surface, much as he likes to do with his canvases.
Wan Liya has had numerous solo and joint exhibitions in China, in South Korea, the United States, the UK, Indonesia, Peru and The Netherlands,
His work can be found in collections around the world, in museums, private collections and in public space. He teaches and frequently gives lectures about his own work, art and art in public space in Beijing as well as in his home town Qingdao.