Huang Liyan: Not Knowing Any Better|Shanghai

24 September - 30 October 2022
Huang Liyan has always created paintings that seemingly dance around the subject, echoing with the characteristics of their creator: self-aware, sensitive and at ease with being on the margins.
His artworks carry a sense of absurdity and dark humor, with scattered bits of romance inlaid on the canvases, giving birth to surreal scenes that are chaotic, distorted, perverted and fragmented. Mysterious and suspenseful atmospheres leading nowhere like an untraceable nightmare. His works are claustrophobic and dead-end, but occasionally revealing the glory of “being weightless”. In fact, they embody his experience and perception of real-world situations, as well as the energy of his expression. The energy may seem to be unbearably light, but actually carries the full weight of life.
Huang Liyan does not portray life as a sense of powerlessness dominated by "the environment". Rather, he realizes that he must stand up to the cruelty and helplessness of reality through his creations. He wades through traces of existence, like a wind blowing towards unknown faces, witnessing the "savage" growth of everything in this world.
I describe Huang Liyan as someone who is interesting but of no use, someone who does  interesting yet useless things. However, Huang Liyan himself says: “I am actually someone who’s neither interesting nor of use.”
As if he didn’t know any better!
By Feng Boyi