Three Thousand Troubled Threads

January 17-Febuary 27, 2009
Opening Reception: January 17, 6-8PM

Tarryn Teresa Gallery is pleased to present Three Thousand Troubled Threads, a site-specific installation by Austin-based artist Beili Liu.  A series of related but distinct installations created with everyday materials such as needles and thread, Liu’s exhibit is united by “the visual metaphor of lines” and the ambiguity it creates.

Lure #1 is a literal expression of the Chinese legend of the “red thread of fate”: From birth, lovers are connected by a red thread at their ankles.  Legend holds that the thread may tangle or fray, but will never break. Liu beautifully plays with the implications of this myth.  She crafts spools of red thread into thousands of coils, pairing each coil with a “soul-mate.”  Yet, in the mass of the installation the connection between the coils is obscured. Despite the intricacy of the piece, it never overwhelms, but rather invites close inspection by the viewer to discover the pairs.

In Origin, Liu assembles hundreds of rolls of spirit money- the offering burnt for ancestors and spirits to use in the afterlife- to form a wall installation which mixes burned and intact spirit rolls. The arresting contrast of the vibrant silver and gold of the intact spirit roll with the earthy attraction of the charred spirit roll evokes the two incarnations of the same entity at different points in its existence. Liu invites the viewer to contemplate the opportunities offered by intersection and the union formed by unique halves of a whole.

Throughout the exhibit, threads draw and pull the viewer along to the next part of the installation, while creating an appreciation for the themes of the exhibit: fate obscured by obstacles, seeking and finding, and the promise of transformation.

Born and raised in China, Liu has been living in the United States for over a decade.  Liu states: “As someone who comes from the East and lives in the West, I have experienced two distinct and often contradictory value systems.”  Liu draws from these contradictions to inform her work which, in turn, “illuminates” the space it inhabits.  

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About Beili Liu
Beili Liu transforms simple, everyday materials in curious ways that are evocative of both her Chinese heritage and her experience in the United States. Her elegant installations and sculptural work look at transience, fragility and time lapse. Beili Liu studied at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and received her MFA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.