Hung Liu – Comrade in Arms
Dimensions: 78 x 114″
Medium: oil on canvas
(C) Hung Liu Estate/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
Comrade in Arms is a monumental painting depicting a topic that was monumental to Hung Liu—the bravery and heroism of the women who stood by each other during the wars in the China of her childhood. As is the case with all of Liu’s paintings, this composition uses a historic photograph as its inspiration. Liu notes, “This interweaving of images from the ancient and modern past continues my interest in a contemporary form of history painting in which the subjects from one era witness and comment upon those of another, keeping the idea of history open and fluid.” Comrade in Arms is an exquisite example of the best attributes of Liu’s artistic style: powerful gesture, weeping realism consisting of drips and poignant historic subject matter, and transcendent beauty.
In this work, two women support their wounded comrade, embodying an eloquent double entendre of “arms” as vehicle for both war and harm as well as nurturing.