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Special Projects

Prada Rong Zhai Storytelling

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Prada presents “Storytelling”, a solo show by Chinese painter Liu Ye curated by Udo Kittelmann, with the support of Fondazione Prada. On view from 10 November 2018 to 20 January 2019, it will take place in the premises of Rong Zhai, a 1918 historical residence in Shanghai restored by Prada and reopened in October 2017. The exhibition project will show the work of Liu Ye through a selection of 30 paintings realized from 1992 onwards.

Liu Ye expresses an intimate and sensual imagination, that feeds on heterogeneous sources related to literature, history of art and popular culture from the Western and Eastern hemisphere, giving rise to atmospheres which evoke introspection, purity and suspension. In the artist’s oeuvre the stylistic features of fairy-tales coexist with the sense of humor and a parodic vein.

Referring to his own artistic production, Liu Ye underlined that “every work is my self-portrait”. Combining different elements and sources, his paintings are generated by a plurality of creative forces: memory, observation, imagination and artistic education. All his works are pervaded by a certain ambiguity as they seem suspended between two worlds: reality and invention. During his artistic development he created a personal domain, at the same time accessible and impenetrable to others, which can be described as a subjective reality.

One of the most distinctive feature of Liu Ye’s initial approach was the collision of anachronisms, typical of an individual immersed in a foreign culture: modern art motives combined with old masters’ quotations, western cultural references associated to Chinese cultural icons. The autobiographical nature of his work assumed another connotation after his return to his homeland from Europe in the late nineties. He employed his art as a mean of self-exploration and discovery, in a context in which artistic creation and daily life mutually influenced each other.

Within the decorated spaces of Prada Rong Zhai, Liu Ye’s enigmatic works will acquire a new layer of meaning, engaging a dialogue with the architecture and the unique atmosphere of this historic, early 20th century mansion, which was originally conceived as a place of encounter between European and Chinese traditions. The sequence of the rooms of Rong Zhai’s two main floors will punctuate the exhibition, revealing unexpected resonances between Liu Ye’s paintings, and their relation to the architectural and decorative elements. Visitors will be invited to freely move around the different spaces in order to create a palimpsest of images, memories and new stories told by the artist.

"Storytelling" at Prada Rong Zhai is open to the public from 10 November 2018 to 20 January 2019. Entrance tickets are RMB 60. A unique QR code is assigned to each ticket, which is only valid for the selected time slot. A limited number of visitors can access the exhibition spaces in one time. To avoid queues and save time, tickets can only be purchased online. Scan the QR Code below to purchase your ticket. Purchase can be completed through Wechat Pay. For more information, please contact Prada Rong Zhai at