Observations on Selected Aspects of Liu Kang's Painting Practice

Damian Lizun, Jarosław Rogóż
2022 Journal of Conservation Science  
This article gathers, for the first time, some intriguing technical features of Liu Kang's painting practice, which spans seven decades. These features encompass retouching, alteration as well as the painting over of rejected compositions and painting on the reverse sides of earlier artworks. As Liu Kang (1 91 1–2004) did not discuss the technical details of his artistic process, an exploration of these aspects of the artist's expression helps us understand the motivation behind his
more » ... al decisions. The paint layers were characterised through imaging methods like visible light (VIS), ultraviolet fluorescence (UVF), near-infrared (NIR), reflectance transformation imaging (RTI), digital optical microscopy (DOM) and X-ray radiography (XRR). The technical analyses were additionally supplemented with archival sources. The results showed that some aspects of the artist's painting practice may distort the provenance of the paintings, impact dating, visual interpretation of his painting technique and style, as well as future conservation and display decisions. The presented case studies discuss the influence of Liu Kang's unconventional painting approaches on the perception and interpretation of his artworks. Additionally, some hidden alterations and entirely new compositions were revealed for the first time and presented here, adding to growing knowledge about the artist's painting technique. Moreover, universal aesthetical and ethical considerations were discussed in the context of the conservation and display approach to the artist's retouching work and double-sided paintings. Besides, this research promotes a need for obtaining a comprehensive understanding of Liu Kang's painting practice and coherent guidelines to ensure proper presentation of his artworks and to prevent misinterpretation of his technique and artistic outcomes.
doi:10.12654/jcs.2022.38.5.09 fatcat:h4tazlito5ellee3e3ovsbpnz4