Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu

Hung Liu, Artist
Rene de Guzman, Wu Hung, Yiyun Li, Karen Smith, Bill Berkson, and Stephanie Hanor. Univ. of California, $60 (216p) ISBN 978-0-520-27521-8
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China-born, US-based Liu has forged new artistic pathways in a life heavily impacted by the Cultural Revolution. Now widely respected for her arduous journey and her brave rendering of real life, she has gained admiration for her teaching, installations, paintings, drawings, and photography treatments. This volume, which accompanies a major retrospective at the Oakland Museum of California, includes essays by renowned critics and stunning reproductions of Liu's work. She confesses, "I am not really Chinese anymore, but I am not one hundred percent American. I cannot get close to my own history, but I cannot get rid of it." A poignant beauty abounds, often framed with "the most tragic aspects [of memory]." And though Liu is a wonderful portraitist and a creative producer of installation art, her great ability to open a window on the fight to survive with dignity is one of her greatest strengths. Moreover, Liu's visual conceptions of time are heightened by her "contemplation on the essence of old photographs," and use of "flowing" surface materials. For a comprehensive presentation of transregionalism in global art, this fine sampling is both informative and moving. Color illus. (Mar.)
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