Liu Chang’s latest exhibition ‘The Light of Small Things’ at Fou Gallery re-interprets elements from traditional Chinese culture and imbues them with new lives through the use of audiovisual installation and computer-generated animation. The 24 solar terms and Chinese medicine are seen through the lens of computation and given a playful twist through interactive elements. The exhibition consists of temperature and humidity sensitive prints, computer-generated animation, audiovisual installation, and three artist books. The wide range of works exemplifies Liu’s interest in different interactive media, and in the transitory and juxtaposition of machinery and nature. The exhibition will be on view from July 14 to September 23.
Liu Chang, "The Flow of Nature - Li Chun/Li Xia/Li Qiu/Li Dong", 2018. Temperature and humidity sensitive print, 30 x 30 cm, Edition of 10 + 1. ©Liu Chang. Image courtesy of Fou Gallery.
The Flow of Nature uses computer-generated images to represent solar terms, a traditional East Asian lunisolar calendar based on observation of the sun’s ecliptical motion. The terms were developed to respond to seasonal rules and forecast weather conditions in traditional agricultural society. Liu draws on these terms, collects and visualizes weather data, such as temperature, humidity and wind speed, in the form of archival prints and computer-generated animations. The animation features abstracted and interconnected patterns circulating endlessly, an allusion to the circular motion of the Sun seen by farmers in traditional agricultural society, while the prints are static instants frozen in time. There are four interactive prints that change their patterns according to varying levels of humidity and temperature, allowing viewers to visualize the changes according to solar terms.
Cabinets: Chinese Medicine is an audiovisual installation that plays with the process of retrieving Chinese medicine and the perception of Chinese medicine as mysterious and strange. The installation resembles a traditional Chinese medicine cabinet, with different drawers opening to reveal the medicine contained inside. Viewers are immersed in the process of discovering medicine, which invokes associations with a curio cabinet and allows viewers to ponder the differences between eastern and western culture.
Liu Chang, "Geometry Book II", 2018. Artist’s Book, unique edition. ©Liu Chang. Image courtesy of Fou Gallery.
The last series of artworks, three artist’s books hand-drawn by Liu Chang, are based on her research conducted at the Catwalk Art Residency. Geometry Book: I, II, an accordion-shaped book reflecting the title the of the work, reflects the relationship between two and three-dimensional worlds based on computer-generated graphics and forms of impossible objects. River Book I&II, displayed as two bar-shaped books, studies the geographical boundaries of rivers, such as the Yellow River in China and others in Chongqing, Hong Kong and New York. The last book, WIP: We Are in Progress, is a contemplation on the evolution of history and civilization. The three sets of books exemplify Liu’s interest in human and nature, and her ability to extract patterns from them.
Liu Chang, "River Book I&II", 2018. Artist’s Book, unique edition. ©Liu Chang. Image courtesy of Fou Gallery.
In the age where programming and coding intertwine with art, Liu Chang’s works offer a new perspective on how coding art and interactive installation can be appreciated and applied in different topics. Her exploration of artistic patterns in nature and the artificial world reveals the previously unseen “small things” and illuminates our understanding of the world.
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