Liang Shaoji was born in Shanghai in 1945. From 1986 to 1989, Liang Shaoji studied soft sculpture from Maryn Varbanov at China Academy of Art who was one of the world's leading tapestries. In the late 1980s, Liang started experimenting with silkworms. For more than thirty years, he has been indulged in the interdisciplinary creation in terms of art and biology, installation and sculpture, new media and textile. His Nature Series sees the life process of silkworms as creation medium, the interaction in natural world as his artistic language, time and life as the essential idea. His works are fulfilled with a sense of meditation, philosophy and poetry while illustrating the inherent beauty of silk.
Selected exhibitions: The Quill Is Mightier than the Sword: A Duo Exhibition by Liang Shaoji and Yang Jiechang, Museum of Wu, Suzhou (2023); Liang Shaoji: A Silky Entanglement, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2021-2022); The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (touring exhibition), Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Smart Museum of Art (Chicago), U.S.A. (2019-2020); Liang Shaoji: As If, M Woods Art Museum, Beijing (2018); The Curitiba International Biennale, Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Curitiba, Brazil (2017); Liang Shaoji: Cloud Above Cloud, Museum of China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (2016); What About the Art? Contemporary Art from China, Al Riwaq, Doha, Qatar (2016); Liang Shaoji: Back to Origin, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2015); Art of Change, Hayward Gallery, London, U.K. (2012); Cloud, Liang Shaoji Solo Exhibition, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai (2007); The 3rd Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai (2000); The 5th Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France (2000); The 6th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (1999); The 48th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (1999); China/Avant-Garde Art Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing (1989) etc.
Liang was awarded the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards (CCAA) in 2002 and the Prince Claus Awards in 2009.
“Some say that the ultimate goal of art is for the artist to express their life experiences and emotions. Then what we see here is the life of a silkworm, first as an egg like a black dot, then as a tiny creature, feeble and writhing, and then as a white larva greedily nibbling away at mulberry leaves. What follows is a mysterious transformation: the silkworm gradually turns transparent and produces a pure silver thread. To the rhythm of its rocking head, it wraps itself into a cocoon or glosses the surface of any object it rests on. In the end, after “the silk is all spun,” it leaves behind a black pupa. We can imagine the struggle, pain, and sublimation of a life in transformation that makes up the emotional and philosophical underpinnings of Liang’s work.” (Wu Hung)
“Truly believing in the spiritual and material power of an intimate merging and exchange between the work of nature and the human imagination-in Liang’s case, an imagination profoundly rooted in Chinese culture and view of the cosmos-and turning this into contemporary forms of creation, he has endowed such a world with harmony, often considered as registered in the realm of the eternal, and rendered it freshly alive and firmly contemporary. His work is an enlightening remind of something crucially significant in our lives, our relation with nature, something that has been too often overlooked and excluded in the dominant system’s cult of a one-dimensional modernity.” “Unlike conventional scientific experiments, Liang’s work, through various artistic processes driven by imagination and poetry, has been turned into the embodiment of the ontological significance of life. It is about true meaning of living in the world: constant negotiations and struggles between life and death, endurance and fate, pleasure and pain…” (Hou Hanru)
“But even while referring to Chinese tradition and associative philosophy, Liang targets the here and now, transforming those well-known references into thoroughly contemporary installations and performances.” “Demanding unusual expertise and extraordinary techniques, his works are slow in the making and difficult to interpret. His installations don't easily submit to commodification—they should be treated as the residue of actions and thought processes, indeed, as markers of a chosen path of life, rather than mere objects.” (Marianne Brouwer)