Liu Qi — Ferocious Tiger in Heart

Ora-Ora at Art Basel Hong Kong 2020 Online Viewing Rooms
April 2, 2020
Liu Qi — Ferocious Tiger in Heart
Ora-Ora is pleased to announce our participation in Art Basel’s first iteration of Online Viewing Rooms, a new digital platform designed to connect galleries and collectors from around the world.
At Art Basel in Hong Kong, Ora-Ora will reject the siren conspiracy of past and future, joined together to weaken our grip on the present. We turn instead to the real, the overlooked, the underrated: the now. Our best course of action is to live a full, unlimited life today. In so doing, we sing in unison with our ancestors: 來世不可待,往世不可追也  (“Don’t chase the past. Don’t chase the future either”). The words of Warring States philosopher Zhuangzi in his Ren Jian Shi came in the midst of strife, conflict and starvation. The urgent message of life’s precariousness and fragility served both as a chilling necessity and a practically applicable philosophy.
Ora-Ora will regularly introduce some of our exhibiting artists along with their artwork highlights. This time, we present contemporary artist Liu Qi and his stunning large-scale work, Ferocious Tiger in Heart (2016).



Image: Liu Qi, Ferocious Tiger in Heart, 2016, Ink and colour on paper, 160 x 367 cm (image courtesy of Ora-Ora and the artist) 


Liu Qi’s paintings are characterized by two main elements: “styling” and “emotion”. Referencing ancient paintings and objects, he explores how figures have been represented over time, incorporating them into his unique style, which transforms ancient concepts and systems of figuration in a contemporary manner. His works are profound and timeless due to the exclusion of personal emotion, using simplified lines to create figures and objects to honestly record each moment.


In Ferocious Tiger in Heart (2016), a young man and a white tiger are shown, reminiscent of the treatment of figures in ancient paintings. However, the styling of the young man is contemporary, presenting the painting as a crossroad between ancient and modern times. Liu believes that “the present” is a “mirror” of history reflecting the cultural evolution of each era, and is a reflection of the “past”. Therefore most of his works are interlaced with traditional and contemporary meanings, with this painting as a symbolic representation of this concept.


Image: Liu Qi, Ferocious Tiger in Heart (partial), 2016, Ink and colour on paper, 160 x 367 cm (image courtesy of Ora-Ora and the artist)


The young man in the painting is depicted with a calm demeanour. He is gently holding onto a rose while deep in thought. Opposite to him stands the white tiger, appearing fiercely with passion and intensity. The two figures look at each other in contemplation, a symbolic portrayal of the “present” (the man) reflecting on his “past” (the tiger). Through this narrative, Liu reiterates the importance of “putting one’s ego aside” to focus on a brighter future.




Image: Liu Qi, Ferocious Tiger in Heart (partial), 2016, Ink and colour on paper, 160 x 367 cm (image courtesy of Ora-Ora and the artist)



About Liu Qi 

Liu Qi was born in Boshan district in China in 1979. He first studied art education at Shandong University of Arts and graduated in 2001. After his graduation, he participated in various group exhibitions, including at Beijing Yanhuang Art Museum and also China Japan Korea International Ink Exhibition (Tomaya). Liu returned to Shandong University of Arts and in 2005, obtained a Master of Art in Chinese painting. His first publication “Wujing. Collection of Young Contemporary Artists — Liu Qi” was published in 2010. In 2019, he held his first solo exhibition with Ora-Ora in Hong Kong, Sanctuary . Liu Qi now teaches Chinese painting at his alma mater.


 Image: Artist Liu Qi (image courtesy of Ora-Ora and the artist)