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Beili Liu Lures Audience with Red String 

Wednesday, May 14 2008
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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.

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Traci Vogel

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