"She Lived There for Thirty Years" is an animated collage made with a paper cut on rice paper, a teakwood frame and an LED portrait of a woman, designed and made by the artists of the Shanghai-based collective, Liu Dao.
The outlines come from the removal of paper in the long-standing tradition of Chinese paper cutting, in which a single piece takes many turns and forms in order to complete all the lines necessary to make the image. In She Lived There for Thirty Years, the paper cut shows a living room within crumbling walls, with antique furniture and in the center, and a clock presiding over the space.
A woman resident is composed of red, orange and green LEDs glowing from behind the rice paper-canvas, lying lavishly across the floor, opening and closing her legs like a ticking clock. Upon entering her space the viewer feels like a witness to strange scene. The peeling paint and decaying bricks have been holding her like a prison, and the single orange bulb of the headlamp turns the living room into an interrogation room.
She’s not to be trusted, even dangerous. Yet despite her captivity and surveillance, she lies on her side with her head resting contentedly in her hand, playfully kicking her legs in the air, comfortable as a resident in her own home. She’s waiting for you, opening and closing her legs like a ticking clock, waiting for your company.
Her lovely body holds your attention but as you walk closer you can’t help noticing the streaks outlining the peeling paint. Compared to the decaying bricks and mortar around her, she is an apparition, she is made of light and alive. Composed of glowing red, orange and green, she understands transience, and she knows a prison can’t hold a decaying body forever. Her prison, her cell, you are welcome in her home; there’s nothing to steal. [Pete Bradt]