A major artist in the Cynical Realism (Wanshi xianshizhuyi) movement that emerged post 1989, Liu Wei paintings has been seen to characterize the eraís pervasive feeling of malaise. With renowned works such as New Generation (1990), Liu recycles the iconic image of Mao in an ironic interpretation of Chinaís current post Cultural Revolution state…
Liu Weiís practice is uniquely varied. Working in video, installation, drawing, sculpture, and painting, there is no stylistic tendency which ties his work together. Rather Liu perceives the artistís function as a responsibility of unmitigated, uncensored expression, tied to neither ideology nor form. Throughout Liuís work lies an engagement with peripheral identity in the context of wider culture; his works often describe a sentiment of excess, corruption, and aggression reflective of cultural anxiety.
Liu views the human body as a metaphor for contemporary anthropological study through which he can engage with ideas of capitalism, globalism, and the urban condition. Though his work is rarely figurative, his pieces suggest self-sustaining organic systems that mirror societal structures, often incorporating materials and images which relate to a base state of being in a humorous way.