Jawshing Arthur Liou works with photography, video, and electronic imaging to create video installations depicting nonexistent surreal spaces. The videos do not contain a clear narrative but rather are meditative in nature, allowing time to slow to a ruminative pace, while spatial scales oscillate between the microcosmic and infinitely expansive. Using sources ranging from landscapes to oil paint to the human body, much of Liou’s work is related to Buddhist concepts of impermanence, meditations on nature and spirituality, and coping with the illness of his daughter.
The Midwest Photographers Project contains several videos, sampling across Liou’s oeuvre. The Blood Work series–including the videos CBC (2003), Hairline (2005), and Elements (2006)–abstracts medical imagery taken of Liou’s daughter, Vivian, who was diagnosed with and eventually succumbed to leukemia. The series confronts the illness and the frightening effects of its treatment. The compositions are based on the visual similarity between normal blood cells and cancer cells, as well as the cyclical nature of sickness and health during treatment.
Liou created the Improbable Waves series–including the videos Currents (2008), Crossing (2009), and Maelstrom (2009)–after Vivian’s passing as a means of meditating on his personal tragedy. For Crossing and Maelstrom, Liou created animated imagery based on the textures of oil painting. Liou calls the imagery “mindscapes,” as they appear to be abstract landscapes. He states: “[L]andscapes are not merely rendering of spaces. They are a reservoir of our emotions.”
For the Annica series–comprised of Annica (2010) and Nachi (2010)–Liou traveled to Japan in 2009 and filmed landscapes around Buddhist temples in Kamakura, Koyasan, and the southern Kii peninsula. The Sanskrit word “annica” means impermanence. As such, Liou sought to construct a space for contemplating the ephemerality of existence.
Finally, the video The Insatiable (2010) appears as a slowly writhing, snake-like body composited from footage Liou shot of the open night market in Chungli, Taiwan, during his residency at the Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan (2010), close to where Liou grew up. In these videos, Liou creates a macro view of the night market from many individual shots. It forms part of his series Things that are edible.
Liou completed a BA in Journalism at National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan (1990), and an MFA in Photography and Electronic Intermedia from the University of Florida, Gainesville (1998). His work has been exhibited and screened internationally, including in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Argentina, Brazil, New York, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, and Indianapolis. His videos and prints are held in private and public collections nationally, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Liou is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Rising Star Award at Fotofusion 2004, Palm Beach Photographic Center, FL; the Garry B. Fritz Imagemaker Award from the Society for Photographic Education (2006); Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, Central Indiana Community Foundation, Indianapolis (2010); and New Frontiers grants from Indiana University, Bloomington (2006, 2011). Liou is on faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington.
The MPP collection contains four Blu-ray Discs including high-definition video excerpts of one work per disc: CBC (Blood Workseries, 2003), Elements (Blood Work series, 2006), Crossing (Improbable Waves series, 2009), and The Insatiable (2010). The MPP collection also has two DVDs containing standard-definition excerpts and installation views: one DVD contains theBlood Work series (CBC, 2003, Hairline, 2005, and Elements, 2006); and one DVD contains the Annica series (Annica and Nachi, 2010), Improbable Waves series (Crossing, 2009, Maelstrom, 2009, and Currents, 2008), and The Insatiable (2010).