In Electric Shanghai, Liu Dao’s first exhibition in South East Asia, the digital art collective examines a young city intoxicated by potent dreams of transformation. The artwork of Shanghai-based Liu Dao charts the pulse of change in China as the nation and peoples swing between lurid modernization and mesmerizing orientalism. With American curator Tally Beck, island6 Arts Center brings Liu Dao to Bangkok, Thailand. Bursts of electric LED lights flash across panels, behind Chinese rice paper, and among papercuts of folk symbols, in animations that dazzle one moment and vanish the next. Set against the enormity of China’s ancient civilization, the hyperactivity of contemporary Shanghai’s development is displayed as a visceral, magical, voyeuristic dream.
Liu Dao's "Electric Shanghai" series is an 8-piece monument to the city and
inhabitants of Shanghai. When watching the skyscrapers rise in Pudong or seeing
the city lights blaze across the electric landscape in the night, visitors and
residents alike understand that the city is now in the midst of its golden
years. Yet Shanghai has experienced these years before: the 1930s saw "the
Paris of the Orient" as a self-fulfilled world of business, royalty,
debauchery, culture, energy and optimism unparalleled around the globe. The "Electric Shanghai" series aligns these two ages within single works, linking
their identical spirit by taking voyeuristic images of beautiful Shanghainese
women with 1930s attitude and illuminating them with LEDs and computer
programming – hallmarks of the 21st Century. The work of the
Shanghai-based art collective, Liu Dao, emits timelessness through original
footage in scenes representative of the early and present culture of fashion,
nightlife, entertainment, and stardom. With their cutting-edge electronic art
techniques, they provide the same excitement Shanghai experienced back then and
now revels in again.