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Lianna Li
ELAPSE /結緣。完結

Plastic Bottles, Spray paint, Chinese herbal tea, glitter, strings
12.4″ x 3.2″ x 4″, series of 3

Hong Kong

Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist

Artist Statement
“I’m a student from Hong Kong whose body of work is produced throughout the 2 year long International Baccalaureate course which mainly focuses on ‘Loss: Death and Mundanity.’ Inspired by the experience of witnessing local Hong Kong customs and rituals disappearing in this generation – the demolition of the Sham Shui Po fabric bazaar, the closing down of many businesses that I have been visiting since I was young, and the social protests that argue for retaining places that are significant to collective memory.  I feel particularly resentful about being in this transitional generation.

This influenced me in making ‘ELAPSE /結緣。完結 ,’ to indicate the inevitability of local stores diminishing as development advances. By combining patterns from old Hong Kong steel gates that signify demolition and phrases associated to deportation, the hourglass sculpture, which contains traditional Chinese herbal tea and glitter,  shows the threat these local businesses face, and their inevitable disappearance. I hope that the viewers will resonate with the reminiscence and heartache conveyed through the piece, and that the piece will also reiterate the importance of preserving local specialties ny raising awareness and appreciation.”

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Video Transcript

“This piece is awesome, and the coolest thing it’s accomplishing is that it’s that beautiful thing of art where it’s so specific, and is telling your genuine story that people who cannot relate to your story relate to this piece. Like, for me, I find it really powerful because it reminds me of like, deserts in Arizona where I grew up that are now being replaced by shopping malls.

I love the structure of the hourglass. I think that’s such a powerful way to convey this message of time like, because the viewer has to operate it and it shows that kind of thing of, we can be upset by this but we are all playing a part in the movement of time forward.

There’s one question I have that you mentioned in the artist’s statement, that the symbols are from Hong Kong steel gates that are going to be demolished, I think you said in your statement, and I’m wondering what if the other side of the hourglass was symbols from a different item or something that kind of signified the future and change. I don’t know, that’s something think about.

There’s another thing too, and this is such a nitpicky technique thing, but it looks like in one of the pictures there’s like, a leak in the hourglass and I think that like, craft is always king and you have to make that so these have to be made flawlessly, because I think the concept is great but you have to make sure that they’re seamless, that it’s clean cut.

And I would pay a little bit more attention to the shape of the glass because right now I like how it kind of has almost a light bulb look to, kind of, you know, that whole image of the idea, and like, thinking how cool it would be if you did get hollowed out light bulbs and made them out of that. Yeah, I think that just being more intentional with what you use and how you make it cleanly to make this awesome concept even more effective than it already is.”

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4 responses on "Lianna Li"

  1. Hi Lianna, personally even though I have absolutely no relation to Hong Kong, the impact of Urbanization globally resonates with me. A lot of the time, when cities are looking to expand or a society is going through a shift in culture, places of heritage and community that so many people hold dear to their heart can be swept away. This topic actually brings to mind a book I’m reading by Jane Jacobs, called ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ where she protests against destructive city developments and advocates building community by catering to the ones that already exist, rather than destroying neighborhoods and building quick, cheap high rises.

    I think for your piece, the symbol of the hourglass is so powerful because in reality it shows the transition of time. It could be cool to add, like Alex said, some symbols of newer times on the other side, and having the herbal tea maybe drown out the symbols of old and reveal the new.

    Either way, your concept is solid and it’s a very important topic to bring to people’s attention. If we destroy old neighborhoods that have culture and heritage, is what we replace them with worth revering for centuries to come? Or will we destroy what is new today when it becomes old as well.

  2. Hello Lianna! I agree that your project here is a very clever and interesting way to discuss your topic. I think that the decision to use traditional Chinese herbal tea in your hourglasses was a smart idea. I see the traditional tea as a great symbol for the shops and staple buildings of Hong Kong that are being demolished. The buildings are something that has been around a long time, are cherished, and mean a lot to you– this is often very similar to the attitude of admiration towards things deemed traditional like the tea. Additionally, I think marking the hourglass itself as being representative of the demolition is what really ties your symbolism together, as the traditional is being controlled by the new.
    I think one of the best things about being an artist is being able to create things that are important to you and express your own voice, and I think you did exactly that in this piece. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  3. Lianna, the response that you’ve found for this concept is a very intriguing solution! As someone who cannot read what’s written on the bottles, I obviously find myself curious about the characters, but I also find myself most curious about the brown liquid, which I wouldn’t know was herbal tea without your description. You have successfully created a visually riveting piece that draws viewers in to wonder about the concept, which after having read it, makes one realize how strong the thought process was behind each decision you’ve made.

    One interesting aspect of your piece is its audience. Someone from Hong Kong can probably recognize the Chinese characters, the herbal tea, and maybe even the specific plastic bottles you used. However, I can’t recognize any of these things unless I read your description, which gives me a totally different experience of your piece than someone who is native to Hong Kong.

    Awesome artwork!!

  4. This is a really clever way of conveying the point you are trying to make and I think it is really successful! Everything you did in this piece was thoroughly thought out, and really connects to the point you are trying to make. Even down to your materials- the plastic bottles are such a clever way of showing the developmental advances you talked about in your artist statement. Moving forward, I think there is a lot more to this idea that could really be developed in a series.

    Overall, really great work!

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