texto para el catálogo de Liu Fan

Mi amiga y socia Liu Fan tendrá el 8 de febrero una exposición individual de sus pinturas en seda llamada EMPATHY / ILLUSION, justo unos días antes de su partida hacia Alemania donde experimentará una residencia de un año entre Halle y Berlín.

Fan nos pidió a Iwan Bala, por quien la conocí,  al estudioso del arte asiático Jeffrey Moser y a mí escribir para su catálogo, producido por la galería, Triple Espacio de Arte. En este blog he presentado varias veces su obra, delicada mezcla de técnicas tradicionales y temas no solo actuales sino históricamente presentes al rededor de la situación de las mujeres en su país. Aquí el texto.

Making visible the “invisible”
The paintings of Liu Fan

在宗教的世界里,能谈女性主义吗? / En el mundo de la religión en la que se puede hablar de feminismo? 2014

在宗教的世界里,能谈女性主义吗? / En el mundo de la religión en la que se puede hablar de feminismo? 2014

We live globalized modern times. As citizens we have turned into netizens and communications and consume rule most of our days and nights. We even have our machines on the Moon. Life is faster. Society demanding. Big Brother omnipresent. Tradition is losing terrain. A taste of decadence infiltrates the century as natural catastrophes befall with an increasing destructive power. Everything is changing. Humans are changing, mutating. But still, many old ill mental structures have to be demolished if humanity wants to reach a balance, not to say survive these hectic times. One if not the most harmful of those mental structures is androcracy[i] aka patriarchy. We are living a globalized increasing violence against women from feminicide to beauty dictatorship. A long time instituted irrational and insensitive violence that we, as women, must not validate.

Liu Fan is an artist, and a woman. She has been exploring this complex identity with her artwork and through her own life. She comes from an ancient culture praising duty and family, history and ancestors, honour and discipline, art and beauty. An amazing culture based -as so many amazing civilizations after the Neolithic- in male dominance. Still, she knows very well where she, as a woman, stands: self -meaning female- consciousness.

With her eyes, heart and mind wide open, she paints. She paints delicate scenes charged with love and compassion but also with revelry and a poignant critic on women condition. Within a time span of more than three years, she has fathomed her discourse and her beautiful -and painful- drawings on silk and watercolor, so subtle, so sour, point directly to the space/void graciously left to females all around the globe.

Many of the elements she uses in her compositions come from Chinese painting tradition as identity signs, but her timeless characters have no face, there is no individuality there because they represent us all. Those ropes constrain us, the nudity objectify us, mirrors reflect what others want, need or are told they have to see. Red details as flowers, fruits, gloves, ropes or stockings tell the bloody underline of the images. Bare trees, volcanic eroded rocks, death masks sustain or frame the bursting life under those bodies that sometimes you could feel like ghosts, so ethereal, but at the same time some projecting a shadow so dense it could be a reflection. A mirage in the mist. In her female characters there is this delicate line between what’s real and deep and what is social mandate. A line like a wound made by a sharp blade.

The symbolic subtleness Liu Fan has chosen to express in her paintings lies on the verge of invisibility, because a condition for this violence is to remain invisible to the eyes of consciousness. Therefore, Liu artwork makes the violence, the subjugation, the pain, the blindness visible. And that’s what’s all about: to present and represent, to show and point out, to cry loudly, so we all can stop the pain. A pain that affects both women and men.

Yes, it’s the second decade of the XXI Century and we should not have reasons to speak about these issues. But the fact is that androcracy is well and alive and even if some women have reached certain freedom, independence and success, even if some women can be artists, curators, doctors, researchers, the daily life proves once and again we are far away from leaving behind discrimination and aggressiveness against the other part of humanity we are. Not even in the art world, because the mainstream functions still under a rigid male point of view, as the constant research of the Guerrilla Girls exposes. No, not yet.

That is why we all need more exhibitions of artwork like this one all around the globe. Not only the visibility of women issues are important but also and strongly, we need to make visible the female artists who break androcratic paradigms just by being true to themselves and producing excellent artwork, just as Liu Fan does.

Elizabeth Ross
December 2013

[i] This term derives from the Greek root words andros, “man”, and krateo (as in democratic), “to rule”.

三层艺术空间, Triple Espacio de Arte. Wuhan, Hubei, China



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