Insomnia Waltz. Paintings by Liu Yu

Insomnia Waltz. Paintings by Liu Yu

During the month of June and July 2023, some of the latest works by painter Liu Yu will be on display at the 1903 Space gallery in Kunming.

After a long period of lethargy and breakthrough, Liu Yu reconciled with himself by facing himself directly, and in a series of works starting from «Insomnia» he showed the poetic quality and tension of this reconciliation. On the one hand, he strengthens emotional representation through the abstract background, and on the other hand, he uses concrete and symbolic objects to point to speculation and interprets a piece of «insomnia waltz» that juxtaposes personal will and real problems.

The images of the interplay of light and shadow. By observing the universal symptoms of insomnia from personal symptoms, the waltz melody not only dispels the local confusion of creation, but also provides a non-standardized solution to the artist’s own life problems.

An excerpt from Hong Yin’s «Send You a Bullet or Candy».

Indeed, Liu Yu’s insomnia studies reflect a particular emotional state, which become part of the universal experience of all insomniacs, be they occasional or perpetual. To go through the works that make up the exhibition is to look back on past experiences, on the cosmic solitude of sleepless nights, on the networks of thoughts that are built and rebuilt to infinity and trap wakefulness without letting it fall into the arms of sleep, on that feeling of insomnia as a weapon, as a spear that pierces us and leaves us helpless in the middle of the night.

In Liu Yu’s works the visitor discovers that the artist has been able to give form to the hazy sensations that dominate our sleepless nights, that he has been able to turn the diffuse into the palpable, that he has given form to the formless and life to what remains lost in the darkness of consciousness.

Liu Yu’s paintings are like great revelations, like the work of the psychiatrist who tries to unravel the meaning of dreams, he sets himself to the description of the non-dream.

I am particularly struck by the three works reproduced here. The first, whose detail heads the article, is the terror of the solitude of the night, the secular conception of man in his solitude, as opposed to the social man that we see during the day, which makes the human being the most powerful animal. With his nerves on edge, with that nakedness that gives the absence of pajamas emphasizing his loneliness. The person alone, naked in the middle of the bed, whose sheets crumple treating him like a net, away from the edges of the bed, losing all support in reality, is a poem as effective as Salvatore Quasimodo’s, and we could consider the continuation of the same: «Each one is alone on the heart of the earth pierced by a ray of sunshine: and suddenly it gets dark.»

The 3 great works of this author are of an impressive dramatism. Each of them is like an arrow shot into the hearts of people.  Each one in its memory of our loneliness, but at the same time is still a gateway to hope. The protagonist painting of this exhibition shows the person in a fetal position. He is alone in the middle of a huge bed, far from the pillow and the limits of the bed. But that bed, by the magic of art, at the same time becomes a crucible, in which it seems possible to proceed to the beginning of a new creation. It is the naked man who at any moment can choose himself and begin to live, to create.

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