For this new signed and numbered, limited edition collection, illy has chosen the acclaimed, versatile Chinese artist Liu Wei, famous for his highly original artistic vision. His evocative and creative universe, reinterpreted for the illy Art Collection, seems to blend cup and saucer into a single dimension.
The inspiration for the design on these small but important everyday items came from The Purple Air, a complex and frenetic work with science-fiction overtones which for Liu Wei represents the continuously-evolving process of urbanization, and the structural changes taking place in modern cities. The result is a stylised metropolitan landscape with a powerful visual and emotional impact.
With voids and spaces defined by unconventional colors, rigid lines that soften and then seem to liquefy, vivid sunsets and dreamlike lights: Liu Wei’s surreal skylines breathe new life into espresso cups and saucers, transforming the daily coffee-drinking ritual into an experience of taste and original creativity.
Liu Wei is one of the most interesting young artists now working in China, where he was born in 1972 and graduated from the Hangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. He expresses his creativity through many art forms: from performance to sculpture, photography, video, painting and installations. Liu Wei’s early work explored cultural, social and political ideas, while his more recent creations concentrate on everyday objects and on materials, including ceramics, “to seek the hidden value they contain”.
His most recent solo exhibitions have included “Liu Wei” at New York’s Lehmann Maupin Gallery, 2013, Trilogy at the Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, and “Myriad Beings” at Beijing’s Today Art Museum, both in 2011. He has also participated in a number of prestigious international collective exhibitions, including this year’s Sharjah Biennial 11 in the United Arab Emirates, “DREAMLANDS” at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, 2010, “China Power Station: Part III”, Mudam Luxembourg 2008, “China Power Station: Part II”, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo 2007, the 4th Guangzhou Triennial in 2012, the 6th Busian Biennial, 2008, the 9th Lyon Biennial in 2007 and the 51st Venice Biennial in 2005.
He has previously collaborated with illy at the Galleria illy London (2011), and a year later at the Galleria illy in Beijing.