Xian Rui 2008: Lure/惑 – Beili Liu

April 2, 2008

Lure/惑 – Installation Art by Beili Liu

Lure/惑 by Beili Liu
劉北立大型裝置藝術展: 惑
Official Selection of the San Francisco International Arts Festival
11th Annual United States of Asian America Festival
Curated by Abby Chen
策展人: 陳暢

Runs May 9 – July 5th, 2008
Chinese Culture Center Gallery
750 Kearny Street, Third Floor (inside the Hilton Hotel).
Gallery Hours Tue.-Sat, 10-4
Admission: Free

“Such a moving presence…” – Suspended, Subjunctive
“Absolutely stunning…A must see!” – Flo Oy Wong
“Poetic…” – Jay Xu, Director of Asian Art Museum
“Don’t Miss!” – SF Chronicle/96 Hours
“Lure” is emotional, meticulous, and, yes, beautiful.” – SF Weekly
“Legend Made Visible” – SF Examiner

Co-presented by Redclay Art Lovers Club

wattis logo

The Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco kicks off its new Xin Rui (Fresh and Sharp) exhibition series featuring the work of prominent, emerging Chinese-American contemporary artists with “Lure惑”, a dramatic installation by Michigan-based artist Beili Liu. In her first Bay Area solo showing, Liu explores the Chinese myth of the invisible Red Thread that binds lovers by the ankle from birth. With each passing day, the thread pulls them closer until at last they find each other, overcoming distance and social and cultural divides. “Lure 1”, the highlight of the installation, makes use of hundreds of paired coils of red thread delicately suspended in the gallery. Subtle air currents set the red disks swaying and turning slowly like water lilies as the loose strands of thread on the floor drift and become entangled. With a little effort, visitors can discover the connected “couples”, though the swaying disks have their own “moves” and “affairs” regardless of the lines and connections beneath

Beili Liu is known for her uncanny ability to transform simple, everyday materials in curious ways that are evocative of both her Chinese heritage and her experience in the United States. Her elegant installations and sculptural work explore transience, fragility and the passing of time.

Related event: Beili Liu Artist Lecture, May 10, 2008
Future of Chinese Art & Chinese Artist in US, May 31, 2008

Co-presented by Redclay Art Lovers Club

Partial Funding provided by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and the San Francisco Foundation


April 10, 2008

Artist Lecture: Beili Liu – Past & current works & “Lure”

Exhibit Lecture: 5/10/2008 Saturday, 2:00- 4:00 PM
Speaker: Beili Liu (Artist)
Beili Liu will conduct a slideshow presentation to discuss her past works and the creation of “Lure.”
There will be a professional showroom tour after the lecture. In addition, CCC staff will talk about upcoming Chinese Culture Center exhibitions.
Location: Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, 750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, SF, CA 94108
Admission: $5, free for CCC members

藝術家講座:劉北立, 5/10/2008 周六, 2:00- 4:00 PM
劉北立將進行幻燈講座,闡述她過去和”惑”的創作. 文化中心的工作人員將談及中心未來的展覽走向並提供專業畫廊導覽.
地點: 舊金山中華文化中心, 750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, SF, CA 94108


“Lure惑” Summary and Media Coverage

We are happy to report that installation artist Beili Liu’s “Lure惑” exhibit, on display at the Chinese Culture Center Gallery, has met with remarkable success. The buzz surrounding the exhibit began even before it went on display, but the opening reception of May 9th, boasting several hundred visitors, gave the exhibit the exposure it needed to generate public attention. Attendees at the event included prominent members of the local Chinese American and art communities, members of the press, and, of course, a great deal of San Francisco’s art lovers. The appeal of “Lure惑”, however, isn’t limited to denizens of the city. People came all the way from Silicon Valley to attend the reception, and more came (and continue to come) after the opening, sometimes literally by the bus load, to visit the exhibit which has captured imaginations across the bay area.

“Lure惑” has been the source of much acclaim. The exhibit was chosen as an official selection of the San Francisco International Arts Festival, and included as part of the 11th Annual United States of Asian America Festival. Prominent Chinese American artist Flo Oy Wong visited Beili Liu as “Lure惑” was being installed and found it to be “absolutely stunning”, and Jay Xu, the Director of the Asian Art Museum, who likewise paid a personal visit, found the exhibit “poetic”. Both the City of San Jose and the Mayor’s Office of San Francisco formally honored Beili Liu for the creation of ” Lure惑”. Furthermore, the exhibit has been the subject of three original, full-length reviews in major publications and online journals (SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and Artslant), and has been mentioned in a slew of other places such as the San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, and the KQED Arts & Culture website.

The popularity of Beili Liu’s work has also been demonstrated on a less conspicuous level, namely that of sales. Local collectors have begun buying the individual pieces from “Lure惑” some purchases even being made before the official opening. On the same note, various merchandise surrounding the exhibit, such as prints, catalogs, and signed shadow boxes containing the characteristic red disks of spiraled thread, have been selling online and through the gallery gift shop. In addition, a documentary film which was made surrounding the installation and display of “Lure惑” was shown on the opening night of the CCC’s Chinese Culture Center Cinema film series, much to the delight of the panel speakers and audience.

In fact, it is probably fair to say that Beili Liu’s “Lure惑” has been a delight to everyone who has experienced it. All manner of people from all walks of life have praised the show, being able to find something within the exhibit which resonates with their own lives, regardless of their background. From journalists who have sung its praise, to enthusiastic comments in the guest book left by anonymous visitors, “Lure惑” has been successful in every sense of the word.

Beili Liu’s “Lure惑” exhibit at the Chinese Culture Center Gallery has had major coverage by the following publications:

May 7, 2008

SingTaoDaily: “演譯惑的故事 紅線串起東西方”


( 本報記者黃偉江三藩市報道 )







May 14, 2008

SFWeekly: “Beili Liu Lures Audience With Red String

By Traci Vogel

According to a Chinese legend, all children are born with an invisible red string connecting them to their soul mates. Throughout life, the string grows shorter, drawing the lovers closer and closer. The thread may tangle, but it will never break. Artist Beili Liu takes the concept of this “red thread of fate” and spins it, quite literally, in “Lure,” her current installation at the Chinese Culture Center. She has fashioned the thread into flat disks, which hang from the ceiling and appear to swarm toward the viewer like a river of red blood cells rushing through the gallery space. Even without the resonance of the legend, the installation evokes the feeling of love, its biological imperative (with their little tails, the red disks could be sperm), and its ineffable nature. Are these red disks souls? Or viruses? As they sway in the wind created by viewers, they certainly seem to be alive. Liu, who has crafted works out of salt crystals and dripped wax, excels in installations that emit a presence beyond their boundaries. “Lure” is emotional, meticulous, and, yes, beautiful.”
– SF Weekly

May 18, 2008

ArtSlant: “Lure: Chinese-American Contemporary Artist Beili Liu Explores the Ties that Bind Lovers

By DeWitt Cheng

LURE: Installation Art by Beili Liu

Lure: Chinese-American Contemporary Artist Beili Liu Explores the Ties that Bind Lovers
Chinese Culture Center
750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108
May 9, 2008 – July 5, 2008

Lure is the inaugural exhibit in the Chinese Cultural Center’s new Xin Rui (fresh, sharp) series, showcasing contemporary Chinese-American artists. Beili Liu, who teaches in Michigan, has a national reputation —she recently created an installation for the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, for example— and her elegant, beautiful work often treats Chinese-American biculturalism, drawing on tradition, but in a contemporary and cosmopolitan manner. Lure, the large installation that dominates the gallery, is a swath of red flowerlike discs suspended mid-air, quivering with the faintest breeze; the viewer stands as if in a field of swaying poppies, or by a pond of undulating lily pads. Each of the thousands of flowers is a spiral of red thread coiled around a needle and hung from the ceiling; the loose ends of each flower coil dangle onto the floor in whorls and loops, but each is connected with another flower, illustrating the Yuan fen belief that lovers are connected from birth by the old man under the moon, Yue Lao, by an invisible red thread and that they will inevitably be united, regardless of obstacles.

Male-female connection is depicted as well in Bound: on opposite walls, pins delineate male and female shapes; from each pin a red thread flows across thirty or so feet of floor to its counterpart across the gallery. A similar linking of opposites is symbolized in Origin, a wall piece made of folkloric spirit money, traditionally burned to be sent to departed ancestors; here, spools of coiled money, both burned and intact, are arranged in a great circle like a planet half in light and half in shade, emblematic of yang and yin, female and male.

Philosophical detachment and an appreciation for transience inform Tie-Untie and Liu’s burned-paper drawings. In the former, a woman’s hands (Liu’s, seen in projected video) unravel floating red threads inside a nestlike cavity of coiled white threads; it’s a contemporary symbol of Jing hua shui yue, Mirror flower water moon, the unreal, beautiful and unattainable. In the latter, made with lighted incense sticks, we see Liu’s familiar coiled floral shapes, but here connoting flowers, seeds, landscape and natural forces — Yun yan, Cloud smoke, a world of evanescent beauty.

May 20, 2008

San Francisco Examiner: “Legend Made Visible

By Janos Gereben


SAN FRANCISCO – The ancient Chinese legend of the Red Thread is about the invisible string connecting lovers “born for each other.”

As time passes, they come closer, and eventually find each other, regardless of the physical distance or social and cultural differences between them initially. (In Western culture, Plato has a similar paradigm of the “two halves” of a couple, fitting together, making a whole.)

A remarkably original art installation by Beili Liu, now open at the San Francisco Chinese Culture Center, illustrates and celebrates the fable.

A focal point of the show is “Lure,” which consists of hundreds of disks made from tightly spiraled red thread. Each disk is connected to another, as a couple, and each pair is made from one thread. An airflow prompts the suspended disks to sway and turn gently like lily pads on water, while the red lines on the ground cross and tangle.

Says Liu: “With a little effort, one can discover the ‘connected couples,’ though the swaying disks have their own ‘moves’ and ‘affairs,’ regardless of the lines and connections beneath.”

Born in China, Liu received her master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan; she is now an assistant professor of art at Eastern Michigan University.

Her shows have been seen in the U.S., Europe and China; her work has received praise from Jay Xu, new director of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. The exhibit here is presented jointly by the Chinese Culture Center and the Red Clay Art Lovers Club, in association with the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. It is part of the 2008 San Francisco International Arts Festival.

Besides “Lure,” Liu’s installations include such works as glass globes filled with salt, water and carbon powder – as the water evaporates, white salt crystals create fascinating patterns against black carbon traces. Another work consists of tapered salt bricks with salt crystals in the center serving as the source of light projection.
Liu’s Chinese heritage is reflected in an installation called “Di-Da,” which means the sound of water dripping as well as that of a clock ticking (“drip-drip” and “tic-toc” combined). The work consists of glass tubes filled with salt water and vinyl sheets suspended over a 22-foot span. As salt water drips downward on the vinyl sheets, it leaves behind crystal “footprints” where water evaporates.
Liu’s show is the first in the Chinese Culture Center’s planned Xin Rui (“Fresh and Sharp”) exhibition series, featuring the work of emerging Chinese-American contemporary artists.


“Lure惑” has also been mentioned in the following journals/websites:

KQED Arts & Culture
Contra Costa Times
San Francisco Bay Guardian
San Francisco Chronicle Datebook
SF Station
99 People
Yahoo Upcoming
Eastern Michigan University Online
American Towns
San Francisco Arts Commission Neighborhood Arts Festival promotional newsletter (and website)
San Francisco International Arts Festival promotional brochure (and website)
11th Annual United States of Asian America Festival promotional brochure (and website)