Art Square and Neighborhood
Two large pillows sit on Kanchogai Avenue. Each has a dent in the middle as if someone had been sleeping with their head on it just a short time ago.
Liu Jianhua, who has been familiar with ceramics since childhood, reproduces ordinary, everyday articles, such as books, stuffed toys, shoes, hats, and bags, in the form of earthenware, and presents these as sculptures.
Generally speaking, pillows are essential to our daily lives. They are usually placed in the bedroom, so why are these two big pillows located on the street? Here we may identify the huge contrast between personal daily lives and public spaces, dreams, and reality, individual and many, night and day. These pillows connect each one of these and its opposite. A feeling of wrongness is common when finding something completely out of place. One wonders why it is there. The situation is so incomprehensible as to be surprising, funny, and emotionally swaying.
At the same time, the two pillows shake the boundaries between the private and public, since they enable the very personal act of sleeping to be witnessed by passersby. The hollows in the middle of the pillows suggest that the persons sleeping there until a little while ago might return. If that happened, who would own the spaces around the pillows?
This story implies that places have the potential to harbor many different kinds of meanings. Let us imagine ourselves sleeping while sitting on dents left by someone on the pillows.
Photo: Oyamada Kuniya
Born 1962 in Ji’an, Jiangxi Province, China; lives and works in Shanghai, China. Liu launched his experimental artistic practice in the late 1980s, shifting his focus to “no meaning, no content” in 2008. One of China’s best-known contemporary artists working across a wide rage of materials, he has exhibited in a long list of international art exhibitions including the 57th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2017) and 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (Russia, 2007). His works are in the collections of Tate Modern (London, UK) and MoMA (New York, US), among many others.