Skip to main content
Contemporary Art Practice (MA)

Hongrui (Henry) Liu

Hongrui (Henry) Liu b.2000, is an artist born in Shenzhen, he grew up in Hong Kong and moved to London in 2016 to study and pursue a career in the arts. He attended and graduated from the Fine Art programme in Central Saint Martins in 2021, where he spent his time on a series of essay films and experimenting with sound art whilst producing drawings and paintings. His journey led him to the Contemporary Art Practice (MA) course at the RCA.

His forward thinking concepts and soulful art making sprawls and intersects between the traditional and the modern. Employing an array of techniques spanning across mediums from installations to moving image, Writing to painting, crafting and weaving together concepts and stories to create artworks that embodies an intricate and complex nature. His artistic focus comes to and from the soul, at times playful, at times philosophical. He believes in the power of creation, especially in the form of world building, conjuring myths and stories that speculates and challenges social notions from the present to the near future. He also makes music under the guise of HONGRUI, creating lush soundscapes blending genre influences from ambient, idm, techno to trip hop and easy listening.

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesContemporary Art Practice (MA)Moving ImageRCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

A figure in black silhouette, a shifting shadow.

Art = Life

Past Exhibitions

spndrft @ Artsect Gallery, London (2021)

I Spoke to Them @ Safehouse 1, London (2021)

Dialogue with Aeolus (Film Screening) @ International Curators Forum, Diaspora Pavilion 2, London, (2022)

CAP x Tate Modern Lates @ Tate Modern, London (2023)

Past Performances

Tonal @ Animato Audio, Hong Kong (2020)

Contact @ Dyson Building, RCA, London (2022)

Recombinator @ Staffordshire St Gallery, London (2023)

Dialogue with Aeolus is a film that celebrates nature and life.

In a world still tangled up by the impact of covid. Instead of thinking of cinema as a mausoleum of ideas,(which I sometimes do) perhaps its better to consider it as a cryonic chamber. Somewhere special where memories and experiences live and await to be activated. This film is also about the passage of time. It’s about existing somewhere along the edges of being and non-being. Its about light and shadow. Directions and misdirections, obtuseness and acuteness.

Our life consists of the human, the machine, and nature. I wanted to celebrate this unique relation that we all share and are situated in. Living freely on this planet is something we are all entitled to as human beings. Same with time, we all inherit equally. Hence the film is a song for the very land around us, the material of life, something that we take for granted at times.. Despite the hopelessness we sometimes inevitably feel, there is beauty in the world still. The wind carries on and the sea keeps unravelling wave after wave.

Screened in International Curators Forum, Diaspora Pavillion 2, London, in March 2022.



4K Digital Film footage, Super 8 Film footage, Spoken text


3840x2160 07:38
Cityscape of a street in mid-levels, Hong Kong, people are walking down a cobbled street. Night Lights pierce the darkness.
Mid-Levels, Hong Kong (2022)
Painting depicting interior of a hotel room, a window with shades segregates the interior with the buildings in view outside.
Hotel Room in Amsterdam (2022)
A drawing of the pavement in Fitzrovia, London, at night, its raining, the water puddle reflects blueish buildings and lights.
Pavement, Fitzrovia, London (2022)
A blueish green drawing of a night scene in London. People are walking in all directions, meeting, and leaving.
Untitled, April 2023)
DesinonDesinon is an interactive animation, where you choose your own story, it remains unfinished as of now. The file is only playable locally through HTML. Here is the unbranched version.

Desinon Plot

Welcome to Desinon, the year is 2050, 20 years after the The Great Waste. A nuclear fallout that impacted global capitals. Governments around the world has decided to shift development to townships that was otherwise neglected before the fallout. You have been living in Desinon since birth, bearing witness to how the city has changed after the fallout in a short span of 15 years.

The unequal wealth distribution within the township of Desinon has increased ever so severely, disparities are at an extreme, the rich here, are mostly depraved oppurtunists who has gotten rich post fallout. most of them live in an abundance of pleasure and debauchery in their own private utopias of high rise buildings in the centre of the city. Indeed, the majority of governmental officals are mostly depraved as well. Living in an entrenched lifestyle where capital and income prevails over anything else such as dignity, honour, honesty, and an open heart. Exploitation, trickery and manipulation is the constant device for amassing wealth and power for the depraved rich. You wonder what has happened to the local government, much has changed after the Great Waste.

The urban township of Desinon are made up from sectors of centrality and disparity. In the middle was the high rise buildings where one could touch the clouds. the science sector was constructed right below these skyscrapers, officials and scientists are often offered to live in these buildings aswell. The less wealthy areas surround the high-rise buildings filled with high density and low altitude housing, you can still see smoke coming from the chimneys of these houses, a rare sight these days. 

Sectors are clearly defined into, the central sector, leisure, education, ifestyle, and industrial sectors, Each sector is guarded by giant slab of concrete gates and officials, who would scan your iris. Ones iris witholds holds all information on you in Desinon. From What sort of food you like to how much money you make, to what crimes you have committed, and even, what your dreams and aspirations are, thanks to the new technology that allowed AI's complete access to other wise private data collected from social media accounts and metadate. In Desinon, ones privacy is transparent if you had the right links. The reality is cold, and so are the mechanical gates that segregate each area.

Criminals and those who’s income is below the benchmarked average income for your age and sex will be denied access to areas of the city and live very grey lives roaming on the outer areas of the fifth gate. where there is little to no administration.

This governing party sees individuals as living cogs working towards only profit. You often think to yourself that this constant expenditure will only lead to the human race destroying whats left of the world. However, there is still hope in humanity, you've only head stories about how music and art burgeoned in the free sector of the city, beyond the fifth sector. but so did drugs and violence. love and compassion still live on in many peoples hearts, and dreams never die regardless of social policies, you thought. 

Shadow Series

In my series of oil painting which I call The Shadow Series, the paintings themselves are meditations upon states of being and non being. A "shadow"s existence necessitates a light, what we call "light" would not be whole without a shadow. A shadow also represent what has occurred, and has been. The past unwinds into the future through each brush stroke, at times fluidily, at times jarringly, at times smoothly, at times free, just as memories do. The colour scheme shifts to a calmer palette that represents the luminosity of shadows. A dark and spacious entity, Cerebral aquatic tones are used in the Shadow Series, II, Diner. The diner in this painting specifically points to the diner as a place of being and non-being. I was inspired by G. Batailles idea of expenditure. I observed that, to eat, interestingly, is to conserve and expend in the same time. On one hand, we are nurtured by the food, but, lives are lost, (animal, Plantae) the painting is a dream scene with wild species being served on a rotating sushi belt. It is a comment on choices and decisions. Will you take what’s offered or not? Are you willing to bare the consequences of food-poisoning? The past expends into the future and the future to the past. and repeats. I wonder what happens if the reel runs out.

painting depicting a arm on the left reaching for the moon, and shadowy figures interacting on the bottom half of the canvas,
Shadows, I (2021)
a flurry of colours, blues, greens, blues, and purples merge as light does. with a pink highlight.
Shadows, II (2021)
painting depicting a giant cowgirl trampling over buildings in the city and a big mouth that extends out of one of the buildings
Shadows, III (2022)
2 people sitting in an aquatic toned diner, infant of them are exotic food being served on a rotating sushi belt.
Shadows IV, Diner (2022)
2 lamps on the left, a guitar on the right held by a shadowy hand, bricks are the background, a clock with a butterfly.
Shadows, V (2023)
screenprint of London being bombed in ww2, with letters re written from soldiers that sent them home during the war
Memories of War (2022)Screenprint on canvas, Oil, Ink. I made this piece to warn the public about the horrors of war, triggered after Russias invasion on Ukraine. The photo printed is an archival image of London being bombed in WW2. I jotted down writings that was originally letters sent home by allied soldiers to their families.
a vertical composition, with a fork like pattern streaking across the wooden panel, life is drawn into a river flowing
Untitled (2021)


Oil, Acrylic, Enamel, on Linen, Wood, and Cotton