Born in 1962 in Jian, Jiangxi Province, Liu Jianhua began working in a porcelain sculpture studio in Jingdezhen in 1977. In 1985, he was admitted to the Fine Arts Department of the Jingdezhen Pottery & Porcelain College, majoring in Sculpture. Liu graduated from the Jingdezhen Pottery & Porcelain College in 1989 and went on to teach at the College of Fine Arts at the Yunnan Institute of the Arts. He is currently an associate professor at the Yunnan Institute of Arts.
Art’s path is a continuous exploration for the thoughtful artist. After working mainly in the medium of ceramics, Liu Jianhua turned towards experimenting with a variety of integrated materials. Though the artist’s earlier work focused on personal feelings, he later began to demonstrate a more clear concern for social issues. Liu Jianhua has now aimed his attention towards the creation of a more formal stage.
Liu Jianhua’s earlier works Play focus on elements of “cheongsam,” a traditional one-piece Chinese women’s dress imbued with strong sensory qualities, to address its importance in Chinese culture. In 1994, Liu began his Discordant series, which marked the first time the artist’s work clearly expressed his deep concern for social issues. In this series, he placed the lower parts of nude female dummies together with Sun Yat-Sen jackets, demonstrating the distinct, though rather controversial, form of the works. Liu Jianhua then created Secretseries and Obsessive Memories series. The texture of these ceramics demonstrates the energetic characteristics of modern society. The co-existence of hard and fragile features illustrates the modern public’s unstable obsession with material objects. In 2008, Liu Jianhua opened Export: Cargo Transit at the Shanghai Gallery of Art, Three on the Bund, again directing his attention towards the increasing stage of socialization. Ten tons of foreign garbage nearly filled the entire exhibition space. Artists try to give these “goods” another kind of value. Liu Jianhua stated: “It is the West’s creation of original eco-garbage, when shipped to China it is ‘exported,’ in China we can view it by means of art and then ‘export’ it back again, I expect a foreigner will collect these things, or they will be put on display in overseas exhibitions, so the art will return back to the West, in this way the whole concept was set up!” In 2009, Liu Jianhua’s exhibition Horizon was held at Beijing Commune. The exhibition exemplified the artist’s shift towards a more formalized stage.
Liu Jianhua has participated in many international and domestic group and solo exhibitions. Organized solo exhibitions include Dream in Conflict at Galleria Continua, Italy (2008) and Liu Jianhua: Horizon at Beijing Commune (2009). Solo exhibitions include What Do You Really Know About Yourself? at ShangArt, Shanghai (2003) and Export: Cargo Transit at the Shanghai Gallery of Art, Three on the Bund (2007).