The group was founded in 2006 and has spent the years since artistically contemplating the clashes between traditional and contemporary culture: the good, the bad and the outright hilarious. That last part is one of the aspects we believe has allowed us to stand out, garnering international recognition and critical acclaim. There’s plenty of room in the world for dark, serious and stark artistic work, even some of our pieces could fall into that realm. Most of what we make however, is soft, light-hearted, and romantically optimistic about our world, our era and the people that surround us.
If you’re one of those people though, and looking for some darker humor, look no further than most of the blurbs that accompany the artworks. These are the short texts that compliment each piece as something akin to the artwork’s voice. They are, if you’ll excuse a cliché analogy, the yin to the artworks yang (or maybe it’s the other way around?). These texts are the often gritty, occasionally morose side to the work’s overall concept. If the visual artwork is your coddling mother, think of the blurb as your dad telling you to go get a real job. Maybe neither has the ideal advice but together they might offer a richer version of the truth.
“I’m a Hack” for example, shows a cheery lumberjack chopping away at a towering and bare winter tree. On its face it is just that simple, but the blurb offers viewers another side. It suggests some physical manifestation of feeling like a fraud: embarrassingly undeserving and incapable. It’s about that anxious pursuit of feeling worthy and adequate when all evidence suggests you very likely art not. “Pug Luck” is, well, a pug looking at the viewer. The humor of the piece lies mostly behind the fact that pugs always look funny. The blurb however, offers a bit about the torrid true history of the pug breed, from their origins as the privileged pets of China’s former empress (and once imperial concubine) Cixi.
This dark blurb thing isn’t a rule though, sometimes the dynamic is turned on its head and an overtly pessimistic visual artwork is made lighter with the accompanying text. “Picture Perfect” and “Our Brave Discovery” are examples. The former shows a woman snapping photographs of a smoggy Shanghai skyline. The text focuses on the importance of setting goals and being relentless in their pursuit. “Our Brave Discovery” shows cleaning ladies wiping off the windows inside a skull. No doubt it looks sinister, but what the artists really wanted to convey was the sense that each person possesses their own reality unique to them, whether it be right, wrong, happy, sad or strange.
There are plenty of other Liu Dao artworks with a multitude of messages, themes, concepts and undertones. While this is meant to explain a bit about that, it is ultimately up to a viewer to ascribe what that piece means to them. If it is indeed true that every person has their own reality, then each artwork too must have endless versions of itself, all waiting to be discovered, adored, and given life... perhaps by you. Thanks for adding another version.