Last night Eclectix visited the opening of local artist Hung Liu’s new exhibition – retrospection and contemplation on her Chinese heritage and history, aptly titled Offerings. These works are both a symbolic and real departure from her fantastic and drippy, portrait based works, with which you may be familiar.
Liu’s large scale installations take us back to the Chinese immigration to the United States, from the boats which brought them here, to the railroads they toiled upon. A mountain of fortune cookies in the center of the room, dominants the space, shaped as a monument like the great pyramids of Egypt, with railroad tracks disappearing into anchoring compass-like corners.
The paintings and prints all had a banner feel to them, with abstract designs worked through out. Large, horizontal and very long they could very well be unrolled ancient Chinese scrolls. Complex and layered with ghostly, transparent figures, gods and tumbling iconography – they reminded us of Balinese dancers and Indonesian textile batik designs. Like modern cave paintings of the subconcious – calling on the memories and heritage of a lifetime, in a dream inspired state. We would love to see these works unprotected, without the reflecting glass! Although there must be a certain amount of bitterness in these recollections for Hung Liu – the works seem peaceful and beautiful, lacking resentful tension – one feels she is at peace with the past and has moved on to embrace the present.
The biggest panel in the show, taking up one entire wall (left, below) is a complex weave of tumultuous imagery and line work – we’ve shown some details in the photos above.
“Tai Cang—Great Granary contains two distinct components. The first, Music of the Great Earth II, examines Liu’s passage between past and present through a reinterpretation of a mural she painted while earning her master’s degree in Beijing. Music of the Great Earth II is not intended as a recreation of the original, which was demolished, but as Liu’s analysis of how moving through time and place shape her perspective. The second component of Tai Cang—Great Granary features 34 antique dou, a traditional Chinese food container and unit of measure arranged in a map of China and representing the country’s 34 provinces and special regions.” – Via Mills
Keep an eye on your hungry little ones if you bring them to this show – the fortune cookies are beckoning tasty treats, at toddler level. Our fortune? – “You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily.” Indeed we did.
Mills College Art Museum, January 23, 2013 – March 17, 2013.