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Liu Shiyuan

Opaque Pollination

On View:
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 — Sunday, April 12, 2020


Liu Shiyuan’s work probes the causes and results of gaps in communication that arise from changing technologies as well as from transcultural exchanges. Through images in videos, collaged photography, and other mixed media work, she interrogates in-between spaces of a global existence mediated by technology where intimacy and secrecy can be scarce. Born in Beijing, Liu Shiyuan studied in New York and now lives in Copenhagen and Beijing.

Video forms a major part of Liu’s practice. These sweeping cinematic presentations incorporate awkward human interactions and stock photography. The stilted dialogues in her videos highlight our contemporary communication practices in which face-to-face interactions are often influenced by social media, screen time, and images seen on the Internet.

Liu’s use of stock photography in video is echoed in the artist’s two-dimensional works. A series of photographs in the exhibition features photographs of landscapes, animals, and food collaged together in a painterly manner. In her large-scale installation, As Simple As Clay, the artist searched the word “clay” in different languages on the Internet. In addition to the photographs from the Internet, she took photographs of her hand holding or in some cases molding various substances, while she simultaneously studied a new language. By shaping and playing with different materials, the artist encourages new perspectives on form and meaning. After gathering an archive of imagery, Liu neutralized them by placing the images on a sterile bright blue background. Upon entering the installation, the visitor is engulfed by the cornucopia of images. This installation reiterates how varied meanings can be assigned to individual images when stripped of their context.

This exhibition marks the artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum in the United States. Liu has been featured in multiple solo presentations in China and group presentations in China, Denmark, Germany, and the U.S. She received a BFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in in Photography, Video, and Related Media in 2012.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the Jane Hsiao Asian Art Endowment.

Image caption: Liu Shiyuan, Almost Like Rebar No. 5 [detail]2018, C-print, sandwich mounted, acrylic, oak wood frame painted white with hand drawn black pattern, 72 1/2 x 41 3/4 x 2 inches, Edition of 5, 1AP, (TBG 18774.1)

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