(C) Hung Liu Estate/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Hung Liu became widely known in the United States for her paintings of Chinese workers and concubines, whom she encountered while she worked along side them in the fields of the Chinese countryside during the years she was being “re-educated” via the Cultural Revolution. She follows the Chinese cultural tradition of “calling spirits home” after death. She feels that lest these workers and concubines be forgotten and their spirits never “called home,” she should prepare a place for them to rest for eternity. Thus, she creates gorgeous, quasi-imperial homes for them in her paintings.
Recently, Liu has found herself drawn to the Dust Bowl era photography by Dorothea Lange. Though Lange’s subjects are American, rather than Chinese like Hung’s actual ancestors, Liu sees herself in the migrant workers Lange photographed. She has started a series of paintings inspired by Dorothea Lange’s imagery, and this body of paintings has been exhibited in major institutions throughout the United States, including at Turner Carroll Gallery’s exhibition “Hung Liu: American Dream.“Hung Liu: Memory and Revolution [PDF Catalog July/August 2023]