Liu Wei’s architectural installations at Lehmann Maupin’s two Manhattan locations offer warped experiences of physical presence. In Chelsea, he has hung a series of oil paintings in various shades of gray, from matte silver to the color of dark, wet concrete. The paint looks as thick and gritty as construction materials, and the broad curves of the brushwork evoke at once a drying sidewalk and a detail of a city map. Mirrors line all the walls of the gallery that don’t sport paintings. Narrow frames of metal rods stand before some, and as their reflections shift in the viewer’s perspective they appear to cut through the paintings and the space.
Downtown, a dense conglomeration of sculptures augments that parallax movement. Instead of lining the walls, the works cluster in the gallery’s center, pushing the viewer to circumnavigate the margins. Mirrors appear again, often angled toward the ceiling, but they have a lesser effect than the objects that look like versions or inversions of each other. A metal cut-out’s exterior matches the inside of an arch affixed to the wall; a roughly welded sphere parodies a smooth concrete one. Shapes move through doubles and profiles in Liu Wei’s fluid architecture. —Brian Droitcour
Pictured: Installation view of Liu Wei's 2016 exbhition at Lehmann Maupin, New York. Photo Max Yawney.