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The resumé of Miss Zhu Liwen begins in 2007. This young female artist has created an impressive five piece woodcut pentaptych named "Life Situation," which cleverly makes a statement about the world we live in by presenting a shop window. Looking into the panels of this window, one feels that life is much more and higher than we believe.
Miss Zhu Liwen was born in 1983 in Deqing city of Zhejiang province. She started to learn printmaking at the renowned CNAFA (Chinese National Academy of Fine Arts) in 2003 and finished her studies in 2007.
The 5 piece work, "Life Situation" is a large achievement. The series focuses on one shop window although each piece features different subjects. This is, however, no ordinary shop window. It is supposed to reflect "life," and yet, there are no vivid people in the window, just clothing models, some of them headless. There are, however, live animals in the shop window, from tigers to birds. The artist wishes to juxtapose the static state of "people" with that of the lively and dynamic state of the animals.
The models are all in passive poses, merely standing in the window, as if waiting for a bus. Their arms and hands are just limps at their sides, with the exception of the models of children who clasp a larger model's hand. The animals, on the other hand, are full of life.
The tiger in no. 2 looks as if it is growling and ready to pounce on its prey. The baby tiger behind it is curiously peeping out from a window, perhaps waiting for food from its mother in the foreground. The bird to the right of the tigers is squawking.
Using these animals, the artist wishes to show us what life is. The animals are alive. Their poses are very natural. They are living as they have done for ages, for the most part in peace and harmony with their environment.
Panel three is quieter and more calm. There is a small animal to the right, which appears to be a dog. The dog is noticeably distanced from the people in the scene. Perhaps, the artist wishes to show us that the concept of a dog as "man's best friend" is a life situation, one which man brought upon the animal. In the end, a dog is also just an animal.
The pentaptyph demonstrates that life is not just life in the human centered sense, but rather a concept that encompasses the world and that includes animals too.
Author: Dieter Wanczura
(March 2008, updated August 2009)
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Works by emerging Chinese artists in BUYDIRECT.