"July in Hangzhou" by Liu Dao "Canidrome" by Liu Dao "Bund Queueing" by Liu Dao "Shanghai Twins" by Liu Dao "Lightweight Charm" by Liu Dao
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"Lightweight Charm" by Liu Dao
TITLE "Lightweight Charm" (轻盈如纱)
ARTIST Liu Dao 六岛
MEDIA LED display, cotton, teakwood frame
DATE Made in island6, Shanghai 2010
SIZE 16(W)×120(H)×8(D) cm | 6(W)×47(H)×3(D) inches
TECH SPECS 3× MW LPV-60-5 (INPUT 100-240V AC /1.2A 50/60 HZ - OUTPUT 5V/8.0A)
WEIGHT UNCRATED: 12.6 kg |27.72 lb • CRATED: 29.3 kg | 64.46 lb
CRATE SIZE 143(W)×36(H)×21(D) cm | 56.3(W)×14.2(H)×8.3(D) inches
EXPOSURE Exhibited in "Prophecies" and "Everyday Frenzies"
CREDITS Wang Dongma 王东马 (video animation) • Thomas Charvériat (art direction & technical guidance) • Zane Mellupe (art direction) • Zhang Leihua 张雷华 (production coordination)

In an ancient Chinese legend, the famed painter Zhang Seng You 張僧繇 was commissioned to paint a mural in a monastery. He was said to have painted four dragons to perfection but bizarrely left out the pupils from their eyes. When the head abbot queried Zhang on his strange act, the painter explained that painting in the pupils would render the dragons alive. The disbelieving abbot insisted that Zhang complete his task, and so he painted in the pupils of two of the dragons. No sooner had he finished and stepped back from the wall, the two dragons roared to life and took to the air in a rolling crash of lightning. The other two dragons, whose pupils were unpainted, remained on the wall.
This fantastical tale embodies the spirit and philosophy of East Asian sumi-e, or ink and wash painting, which has inspired the creation of "Lightweight Charm". Greatly influenced by traditional ink calligraphy, this artform seeks not simply to reproduce its object's appearance, but to capture its essence and soul. To paint a horse, the accomplished sumi-e artist must empathize with its nature and temperament. To paint a flower, he must appreciate the loveliness of its fragrance and bloom. Sumi-e may well be man's earliest attempt to capture the unseen in expressionistic artform.
In "Lightweight Charm", Liu Dao reinterprets the beauty of this artistic expression in both movement and form. The two LED goldfish move across the canvas like the flowing brush strokes of the ink painter; assured, simple, rhythmic and harmonious. As the skilled sumi-e artist gives life to his work through the pressure, incline and direction he conveys through his brush, the accelerations, decelerations, turns, and crochets of the fish give life to the shapes they trace across the canvas. By embodying the spirit of sumi-e, Liu Dao makes the fish come alive in a playful modern take on the legend of Zhang Seng You's dragons.
The eminent American artist and art educator Arthur Wesley Dow famously called this "the qualities of the highest art". Liu Dao has sought to preserve the heart of this artform in electronic form, bringing the beauty and aesthetic aspiration of the ancient world into the 21st century. [Ching Ling Loo]

STATUS Available. Please contact Red Gate Gallery (Beijing)
Download the LED animation source fileHigh Resolution PhotoWatch a video of this artworkmore
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island6 is a philanthropic project founded by artists and managed by devoted creative staff. The spirit & driving force behind all of island6's works and art-forward exhibitions is collaboration.
六岛是由艺术家自发创立, 由创作人员管理的公益艺术机构。其精神是为艺术家提供平台并支持各项协作项目。