‘The Mending Project’ performance by Chinese artist Beili Liu just freaks me out. The work seems to be a balance between terrifying danger and calmness but I see nothing calming about it at all.
The piece was part of a exhibition in the Women and Their Work Gallery in Austin Texas last year and as you can clearly see from the images above visitors were hit with the striking image of a woman calmly mending, sewing pieces of cloth underneath 1,500 pairs of Chinese scissors suspended from the ceiling. As each visitor entered the space they were asked to cut off a piece of white cloth, which hung near the entrance, and offer it to her. Liu then sewed the piece to the existing cloth and so the fabric grew throughout the duration of the performance.
Here’s what she said about this terrifying idea:
I have worked with needles and thread as installation materials for the last three years or so and so it seems to be a natural progression to work with scissors and fabric. I grew up in China. These traditional scissors are used in each household. There is a warm familiarity about them. I am also attracted to their simple and elegant form. These scissors consist of three simple parts: two extruded iron pieces, and one copper hinge that links them in place.
Conceptually, I am interested in harnessing the threatening essence of these razor sharp scissors. They are not ‘polite’ like the ones we are used to. You can use them to cut or stab. Also, in Chinese culture, scissors should never be positioned pointing at anyone, for it will bring ill fortune. They can be sharpened when needed and last a lifetime. On the other hand, they are women’s tools, just like sewing is, traditionally, a woman’s task in domestic life. I am interested in investigating the power of the humble action of ‘mending,’ as a woman artist.
So there you have it. I break out in a sweat just looking at the photos of it.
Via Job’s Wife
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