Flashback Intention

March 4th - April 6th, 2023

FIR GALLERY is pleased to announce that Flashback Intention, a solo exhibition of FIR represented artist Liu Lin, will open on March 4, 2023, at Beijing space. This exhibition will present 26 new mixed-media paintings and 8 drawings of Liu’s classic and new series.


When we encounter a scene similar to our past experience, our neurons responsible for memory storage will be re-activated and they will create hallucinations that make us feel familiar with the scene, even if we’ve never seen it before. It is called a “flashback” phenomenon. It appears because our brain’s nervous system has mistaken the sensory information it received as “scenes from the memories”. Moreover, when the memories are recalled, the brain might “predict” what has not yet happened in the near future. Artistic creation is also a unique memory system. In the instance of seeing an image, our experiences will collapse and intertwine with the individual experience of the creator, leading to empathy and communication.


Liu’s works feature a “caricature-style” visual narration that records the visual experience of a moment with the periodic unit of time and it is combined with Liu’s unique artistic language of humor and drama. The psychological and emotional state of the characters is portrayed “frame by frame”, while the final scenes are the product that brings together Liu’s perceptions, awareness and objective interpretation. These magical freeze-frame moments and their intentional interest create flashbacks in the viewers’ minds as they receive the information and recall their past that transcends space (or even dimensionality).


Following the clues of his SEA SIDE series, NEWS series and the new MEMORIES series, this exhibition discusses the flashback phenomenon activated by the fictive instantaneousness of Liu’s works. In these paintings, Liu depicts the faces and images of the characters with his visual language, while sharing his understanding of society, philosophy and life. These works are like a novel or someone’s lifetime memories: seaside beaches, family life, hotel rooms, scenes in the memory… The content of Liu’s paintings includes part of reality, but it is still fiction that is envisioned by the artist, therefore it is hard to tell which part of the reality is “transferred functionally” by his fantasies. Besides, Liu’s exploration of mixed materials expands the unvarying language framework of two-dimensional manga and creates a new language paradigm that reveals the visual power of material texture and color combinations. The intention of Liu’s exploration fits with the ontological nature of fine art and what is signified by its visual narrative. In Flashback Intention, Liu seems to be playing the role of a tentative “God” who creates a new environment by manipulating the number and dimensions of the exhibit works; a narrative universe that invites the viewers to form strong connections with him. In this creative universe, viewers are immersed into a realm where the boundary between predictions and memories is blurred, and their minds are wandering among the surreal and “flashbacks”.

Installation Views