“Beautiful and shiny surfaces cannot conceal the void beneath.”
Born Guang’an, Sichuan, 1978
Her works look like props from a book of fairytales, and that’s also where Liang Tao finds much of her inspiration. She loves “reading Chinese myths and legends”, she says, “especially the ones about fantasy worlds”. Her Luofu Dream: Pink Pink (2006) riffs on the seventh-century tale of a man who visits sacred Mount Luofu, falls in love with a beautiful woman, then wakes to find that she was only a plum-blossom fairy. The installation consists of a bed woven from woody vines, twin pillows, two hairbrushes, and a gigantic pair of slippers, all sprouting red and pink tentacles and phallic-looking fruits. Tao, the artist’s name, means both plum blossom and romance; the work’s title is also a colloquial term for fantasy. “Life is like a dream,” says the artist, who notes that in Chinese, brushing one’s hair “is a metaphor for keeping your emotions in order”. She created the work as a reminder that dreams can be as treacherous as they are alluring. All too often, the fantasy is a lie, “pretentious, insubstantial, disloyal”, and the promised soft repose becomes a tangled, twisted trap.