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September 22, 2017

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The fantastic light at Louis Vuitton

What sets Liu Dao apart from other artists as well as connects it with LV is the group's emphasis of art as a collaborative creation. While most established artists name themselves sole creators of their artwork even though others in their studio contributed in the creative process, Liu Dao gives credit to everyone involved, explained Mark Chang (張雷華), assistant director of the group, to The China Post. Liu Dao's art pieces are often accompanied by lists of contributors not unlike movie credit lists, with Liu Dao as the name of the creator. Such use of a group name to represent the common values and collective efforts of a creative group is in line with the business model of luxury market in which the end product of collaborative efforts is labeled by a single brand name.

Not interested in making distant and self-referential works of art, Liu Dao creates pieces that are highly relevant to the contemporary world, especially in China. Transformation of China in the past few decades is the theme of the collection in "Light Fantastic." In the 2009 piece, "My Knees," faceless people are seen passing by each other constantly on a LED panel covered by a layer of Xuan papers dominated by a giant baby with an adult's head. The work represents the dominion of the "little emperors," the spoiled only child in typical Chinese family under the government's one-child policy, Liu Dao's founder and director Thomas Charveriat told The China Post.

In "Double Happiness," the group captures the passing happiness in a fast changing China. The LED-lit girl jumped rope alone in a quickly disappearing traditional Chinese courtyard under the shadow of a high-rising building with countless colored electronically-lighted windows. The simple happiness of playing outdoors is becoming more and more desolate in Chinese cities such as Shanghai where increasingly protective parents and rapid urban development have made such pleasure less unavailable.

Visitors would be mesmerized by the image of a single movement (of LED figures) in the constantly changing streets, built of blinking machinery and swelling humanity. Liu Dao aims to narrate these repetitive, soundless performances and freeze the viewer inside the moment along with them. Liu Dao's works are not supposed to provide answers but to raise questions within the visitors' window of experience.

The free of charge exhibition runs from now through June 6 at the culture space on the fourth floor of the LV flagship store in Taipei.

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