Image: Liza Lou

Liza Lou The Biennale of Sydney

16 March—11 June 2018

Working between her studio in Los Angeles, USA and her atelier in Durban, South Africa, Liza Lou uses glass beads in place of paint, laboriously hand gluing the tiny components to the surface of her sculptures and installations. Through her choice of material and the painstaking application process – each bead is individually applied using tweezers – Lou examines themes of confinement, endurance, labour and repetition, describing the world by enshrining ordinary objects and mundane environments, elevating the commonplace to the extraordinary. 

For the 21st Biennale of Sydney, SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium and Engagement, Lou presents The Clouds, 2015–18, an installation comprising a panoramic grid of 600 individual cloths, each hand-woven from glass beads, offering the viewer a simultaneously macroscopic and microscopic view of the world. 

From afar, The Clouds appears predominantly white in colour, taking on the appearance of the natural phenomena for which it is named. Closer inspection reveals the surface of each cloth is infused with streaks and stains; natural oils unconsciously left by human hands. Subtle shifts of tone celebrate the beauty of errors made in the struggle for perfection. Lou has introduced oil paint to some areas and has intentionally crushed others, the destruction revealing the delicate underlying structure hidden within each hand-woven piece. 

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