The physical law of entropy that governs material reality is not only an etiology of chaos—it is also the progenitor of transformation, rebirth, and continual reinvention. Artist Liang Fu has cultivated a practice in which such transformation is the guiding ethos, acting as an alchemist whose work dances with questions of ambiguity and material cyclicality, urging us to hold space for multiplicity and to sit with the truth that earth will always return to earth.

Through the transmutation of water, earth, and mineral pigments, Fu offers new perspectives where change ends not with a reduction to dust and ashes but rather goes on as a process of endless rebirth—figures forged in fire like the evolution of stars.

Fu’s paintings exemplify the allure of forms in flux. Luminous figures and gauzy forms appear almost as landscapes, at once spilling out of and engulfed by the void. Evocative yet ambiguous, his flowing figures exist in the liminal space between figurative and abstract, sensual and intangible, transparent and opaque, eternally in motion and fleetingly captured—and, perhaps most strikingly, between destruction and (re)birth, as in the piece Eternal Blaze, where flesh ripples under an elemental stream that could just as easily be the waters of the womb as the fires of a cosmic alembic.

Yet more dualisms exist in Fu’s techniques, where the artist mixes visible with invisible and presence with absence. Enabled by the interplay of oils with water-based mineral pigments, matte and gloss together evoke contours in layers, blurring and reappearing within fluid waves. Carmine red, such as in The Residue of Tide and Star, suggests both the physicality of a body laid bare and the visceral vitality that lies just beneath.

Ash to Ashes brings forth a body of work that oscillates, where the in-between means eternal transformation. Fire, water, and minerals intertwine, at once an alchemical elixir and a metaphysical cycling of elements. As with the five phases (wu xing), elements are not static but cycle through destruction (ke) and creation (sheng).

Among the works that embody this cosmic analogy is The Moon Bows to Pupil, where a luminous face evokes the final rites of Empress Dowager Cixi as depicted in Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Last Emperor”—an enormous pearl placed in the woman’s mouth, the gem allowing her life to continue eternally in another world. What awaits is not the end, but merely a transition.

Fu’s Sediment series is perhaps the purest distillation of this philosophy of transformation. By dyeing crystals in mineral pigments—the same pigments that lay the foundation for his paintings—Fu reunites minerals with minerals and generates a new synergy between material origin and material transformation. The sculptures that emerge are rich with delicate flecks and veins of pigment, evoking geologic formations and cosmic nurseries at the human scale. Here, pigment and source return to each other in a microcosm of the cycles that renew the earth and its inhabitants. Dust may always return to dust, but Fu reminds us that there is beauty in eternal reinvention.

(by Vivian Xu)

Liang Fu (b. 1993, Sichuan, China) lives and works in Paris France. He received his BFA and MFA from the National Fine Arts School of Nantes in Nantes, France. Fu’s practice centers around the intricate interplay of corporeal forms, geographical landscapes, and the passage of time. Rooted in a familial legacy of antique connoisseurship, Liang Fu’s artistic vision is enriched by a deep-seated understanding of historical aesthetics.

Recent exhibitions include Holographic Realm, Hive Contemporary, Shanghai (2023); Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest: 10 Years, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest (2023);《星体燎原》corps célestes, Nicodim, New York (2022, solo). Disembodied, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest (2022); Intangible, Nicodim Upstairs, Los Angeles (2022, solo); petit beurre, Maia Muller Gallery, Paris, France (2021).