Part of a generation in China that grew up in a period of rapidly accelerating urbanization, Liu Wei has frequently turned to architectural and urban themes in his work. While he presents the city as a dynamic and vital force, his work raises questions about contemporary urban life. He works across a range of media and techniques, including photography, painting, sculpture and installation. The ready-made is a recurring element in his practice, and his work is often assembled out of everyday found objects, such as ceramics, books, television sets, fridges and fans. The artist re-works these discarded materials, transforming them into sculptural objects and installations, such as the bare strips of light dissecting old television sets in Power (2011) to Merely a Mistake (2009-2012), a series of structures made from Beijing’s discarded building materials of wooden beams, door frames, planks and metal bolts.
His solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Ohio; Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); Panorama, Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2014). Group exhibitions include the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Faurschou Foundation, Beijing (2018); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2017); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2016); 13th Lyon Biennial (2015); 11th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2013); 4th Guangzhou Triennial, China (2012); 6th Busan Biennale, South Korea (2008); and 51st Venice Biennale (2005).