Copyright by “Talking Out Your Glass” Podcast
Transforming love and cultural heritage into Liuli sculptures
Loretta H. Yang and Chang Yi are the founders and artists of LIULI Crystal Art (pronounced liu-li). They devoted their life to the art of liuli for close to three decades and, in the process, has revived the ancient Chinese technique of pâte de verre, lost wax casting and instigated the contemporary glass art movement in Asia. Richly imbued with a traditional Chinese artistic vocabulary and philosophical thinking, Yang’s works have been acquired by more than 22 museums for the permanent collections of renowned museums, including Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Palace Museum in Beijing, New York Museum of Arts and Design, The Corning Museum of Glass, Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Discovering the Soul of their Works
The flowers created by Yang explore the mysteries of life through LIULI. A Chinese LIULI Flower and The Flowers are Beautiful, The Moon is Full series break through the confines of sculpture and color. A large flower blossoms in brilliance, proposing a statement on the life condition; the folds and undulation of the stems and leaves illustrates the laws of nature. Layers of colors produced through the Color Placement technique generate naturalistic and colorful blooms as the re-firing technique used for the flower, stem and leaves pay homage to the return to nature. For Yang, each and every flower is an inquiry into life. A moment of bloom, enduring beauty. Subtle, unspoken, rumblings of a persistent flourishing. Such is the flower, such is life.
Formless, but not without Form
Combining pâte de verre with pouring casting, Loretta H. Yang uses multiple casting to create the abstract “form” of Buddha. Life is impermanent - liuli is the material to capture this doctrine. Wavering in and out, it is both illusory and tangible. Liuli is a vehicle for Yang to explore Buddhist philosophy of enlightenment and non-attachment in Diamond Sutra. During the exhibition at the Grand Palais in 2015, the Ateliers d'Art de France commented: "The collection exudes a meditative philosophy that captures the Parisian way of life yet is an uncommon component in contemporary French art.”
Wish of a Lifetime
In 1996, when Loretta H. Yang and Chang Yi visited the Buddhist grottoes near the desert oasis of Dunhuang in western China, the moment they saw the Thousand-armed, Thousand-eyed Guanyin fresco in Cave 3 at Mogao, painted during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) and slowly disappearing under the relentless weathering of the desert sandstorms, Yang vowed to recreate the image in glass as a way of handing down to future generations the wisdom and compassion it has accumulated over the centuries. On the reverse side is engraved the Great Compassion Dharani, a popular incantation in Chinese Buddhism. The unique transparent nimbus represents the wisdom and compassion of Guanyin illuminating the world. The image exudes an air of boundless compassion, quelling the anxiety of a troubled heart. The wish of a lifetime for Yang is to complete a liuli-made Thousand-armed, Thousand-eyed Guanyin in 450cm (14.7 feet) height
Proof of Awareness
When creating her latest flower series in 2006, Loretta Hui-shan Yang removed all traces of color from her work. What she remained was a pure and transparent vision. The series debuted at Leo Kaplan Modern in New York in 2007 with Proof of Awareness, an oversized and colorless blooming peony, garnering widespread acclaim. To Loretta Yang, the oversized flowers of Proof of Awareness are an exhibition of clarity, representing her life reflections and the next stage of her creative journey.
Delivered to Great Love
Liuli petals, when looked at individually, hold little significance. But when clustered together, these petals manifest a symbiotic relationship to create a single large and flawless flower. A harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship does not focus on the self but on the greater good of everyone involved. The one and only sculpture was in the exhibition at South Coast Plaza in 2019.
Driven by Virtue
In order to genuinely and practically deliver the commitment of "to continuously create art for the good of the heart", Chang wrote a dedicated poem for each artwork. It took great determination and faith to accumulate such a compelling body of work. He viewed Liuli as a communicator of life and death, and as the state between illusion and reality, light and shadow. Even though life was illusory, a dream and ephemeral like bubbles, there was always an unwavering touch of red in the heart urging all to never give up life and never give up hope. Although it's been more than three decades, we know there's a lot more to achieve. And the only way to do so is to continuously practice what we believe in. The mission of LIULI has always been more than LIULI. It is the society, the culture, and the human beings.