Hung Liu – Da Fan Che
Dimensions: 32 x 31″ unframed / 32 x 31″ unframed
Medium: archival pigment print with gold leaf and handwork
The title of the painting refers to the specific headpiece the woman is wearing. It translates literally as “tipover cart” head dress, according to Hung Liu. She describes it as a headdress so ornamental and laden with pearls and flowers that it could literally tip over. She loves the detail in the head dress, and she was enamored with drawing it.
The person in the painting is a traveling entertainer. Hung found this image in an antique photograph, and as you know, photographs are very dear to Hung Liu because all of her own family photographs were destroyed.
Hung said her fascination with the woman in Da Fan Che resides in the purity of the image. The woman’s face is pensive, beautiful, and strong. Though her life as a traveling entertainer would have certainly been a difficult one, she manages to maintain a peaceful expression. In her effort to give all the beauty and joy she can to the memory of this woman, she chooses to place her on a base of gold leaf. Since Hung Liu received Russian art training at the Central Academy of Art in Beijing, she was aware of the artistic philosophy behind Russian icon painting. In Russian icon painting, the artist begins with a layer of the most base, earthly material, which is clay. In icon painting, the artist moistens the red clay with his/her breath, and then uses it for the first layer of color on the panel. An icon painter then adds more and more precious materials to the painting, to enhance the majesty of its subject.