Legend made visible

The ancient Chinese legend of the Red Thread is about the invisible string connecting lovers “born for each other.”

As time passes, they come closer, and eventually find each other, regardless of the physical distance or social and cultural differences between them initially. (In Western culture, Platohas a similar paradigm of the “two halves” of a couple, fitting together, making a whole.)

A remarkably original art installation by Beili Liu, now open at the San Francisco Chinese Culture Center, illustrates and celebrates the fable.

A focal point of the show is “Lure,” which consists of hundreds of disks made from tightly spiraled red thread. Each disk is connected to another, as a couple, and each pair is made from one thread. An airflow prompts the suspended disks to sway and turn gently like lily pads on water, while the red lines on the ground cross and tangle.

Says Liu: “With a little effort, one can discover the ‘connected couples,’ though the swaying disks have their own ‘moves’ and ‘affairs,’ regardless of the lines and connections beneath.”

Born in China, Liu received her master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan; she is now an assistant professor of art at Eastern Michigan University.

Her shows have been seen in the U.S., Europe and China; her work has received praise from Jay Xu, new director of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. The exhibit here is presented jointly by the Chinese Culture Center and the Red Clay Art Lovers Club, in association with the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. It is part of the 2008 San Francisco International Arts Festival.

Besides “Lure,” Liu’s installations include such works as glass globes filled with salt, water and carbon powder — as the water evaporates, white salt crystals create fascinating patterns against black carbon traces. Another work consists of tapered salt bricks with salt crystals in the center serving as the source of light projection.

Liu’s Chinese heritage is reflected in an installation called “Di-Da,” which means the sound of water dripping as well as that of a clock ticking (“drip-drip” and “tic-toc” combined). The work consists of glass tubes filled with salt water and vinyl sheets suspended over a 22-foot span. As salt water drips downward on the vinyl sheets, it leaves behind crystal “footprints” where water evaporates.

Liu’s show is the first in the Chinese Culture Center’s planned Xin Rui (“Fresh and Sharp”) exhibition series, featuring the work of emerging Chinese-American contemporary artists.

IF YOU GO

Installation Art by Beili Liu

Where: Chinese Culture Center, Hilton Hotel, third floor, 750 Kearny St., San Francisco

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; closes July 5

Tickets: Free

Contact: (415) 986-1822 or www.c-c-c.org

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Currey (30) tallied 26 points and seven assists at Monday night’s game against the Lakers. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors overcome 19-point deficit to stun defending-champion Lakers 115-113

Ladies and gentlemen, the Golden State Warriors are officially back. Stephen Curry… Continue reading

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Most Read