Liu Ye's Red Warship is a digital reference to Liu's 1997 oil painting, Spirit of the Sea,and comprises many of the themes typical of the artist's oeuvre: we find homage to Piet Mondrian, characters depicted are rendered in a puerile style, we see sailor hats and angel wings simultaneously. It is a prime example of how Liu likes to play between mysterious fantasy and episodes of complex storytelling and art historical references.
Liu: "I have an equal passion for fairy tales and philosophy. Fairy tales are full of imagination and sensitivity whereas philosophy requires strict and rational thinking. Fairytales and philosophy represent two extreme poles of thinking. My paintings roam between these poles (...)."
The artist explores his feelings of adventure and ambivalence by combining oppositional symbols. In Red Warship, this is highlighted by the work's animation: airplanes cross the sky and the warship slowly moves along the horizon, but the activity is interrupted and contrasted by the gentle flutter of angle wings and a flicker of the Mondrian painting.
Liu Ye lives and works in Beijing.
I’m interested more in the language of painting. And art. A thousand years ago, there was a terrible political system, but there was still good art. Of course I have my political ideas, but that’s my politics; my art is my art. Art is not a weapon. - Liu Ye