Liu Jianhua (China)

from confrontational ceramics Judith S Schwartz 2008 pg 162

Liu Jianhua: Liu Jianhua presents a titillating pose of a woman lying upon a polychrome -patterned plate typical of those produced in the city of Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China. He appropriates patterns used on everyday serving dishes, but the women are meant to ‘serve up’ an allegory of colonial imagery with pop and political ideology.

His women are adorned in the cheongsam dress style typified by a high collar and button or frog closure near the shoulder. A sleek, exotic and sexy fashion that was in vogue in Shanghai during the colonial era of the 1930’s, it has become a symbol of the capitalist systems which were denounced during the Cultural Revolution. As China now enters a rapidly glabalising and commercial society, dreaming of peaceful and prosperous Utopia, it hopes to unify revolutionary leftist ideology with consumerism and the free market.

In reusing and recombining motifs like the female body adorned with symbols from the past, Liu Jianhua comments on the commercialism, consumerism and popular-culture issues that have become a part of everyday life in China. He has made allegorical metaphors for the uncertainty of China’s current materialism in an effort to engage in moral reflection and self-analysis.

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