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Liu Sheng: Potato Man’s Quest

14 June - 31 August



gdm presents Liu Sheng’s solo exhibition “Potato Man’s Quest” in Hong Kong from 14 June to 31 August 2024. Curated by Li Yao, artist Liu Sheng unveils the social realities he discovered as a potato farmer through a new series of evocative oil on canvas works.

On 15 June at 3 PM, gdm will host a Conversation featuring artist Liu Sheng, his university professor – artist Xu Tan, artist Duan Jianyu, observer and researcher of Liu Sheng – Liang Jianhua, and exhibition curator Li Yao, delving into Liu Sheng’s recent practice and the ecology of art in the Pearl River Delta.

Born in 1971, Liu Sheng experienced China’s industrial revolution and the drastic social transformations of rapid urbanization. As the first university graduate and breadwinner of the family, Liu took on jobs in design and manufacturing to lift his family out of poverty.

A migrant worker was Liu Sheng’s identity for two decades, but he never stopped questioning the boundary of art and society. In 2014, he no longer wanted to be a mere observer and started documenting his daily encounters. The art of Liu Sheng is familiar and straightforward.

Long-durational social practice is not only a way for Liu Sheng to transcend his own observation and perception, to generate artistic expression in the joint relationship with others, but to expose critical issues within existing systems and catalyze social exchange.

Late 2019, Liu Sheng returned to his home village and rented two acres of farmland from his cousin which began his life as a ‘Potato Man’. Farming is the artist’s way to reconnect with his hometown. Through manual labor, Liu integrated into the community to grasp the complexities in Chinese village life today, where family-run farmland is challenged with deficient productivity. Liu explores the intimate choices of village families in the face of larger forces of modernization, showing how these negotiations shape the configurations of daily village life — from power structure, communal superstitions, individualism vs collectivism, to resources distribution and inequalities.

Entering the fifth year of his “Return to Sweet Potato Farming” project, Liu Sheng unveils the social realities he discovered as a potato farmer through a new series of evocative oil on canvas works in solo exhibition “Liu Sheng; Potato Man’s Quest” at gdm Hong Kong.

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