Anja Liu

Jing Hua Shui Yue, 2016

Tai Hu Stone, mirror, spot light, motor, glass bowl, humidifier


The rotating device used in this portfolio was inspired by the Chinese idiom of “flowers in a mirror and the moon’s reflection in water.” This illustrates the idea that something that is beautiful may be an unattainable dream, a mirage.

I used the mirror and the water surface to create an illusory world through the reflection of light. The bottom of this device uses a mirror as the water. I drew tiny waves on it with propylene. On the top, I put the natural Taihu stone, also known as rockery rock, produced in China’s Jiangsu Taihu Lake. China’s ancient scholars enjoy collecting stones, especially the Taihu stones, because their natural shape is more like a true mountain than carved rockery. The small Taihu stones are often placed in bonsai landscapes, while the large ones are usually set in the ancient Chinese royal gardens. From a Chinese perspective, the scene can be a bonsai, a garden, or a different world. These scenes present the same meaning as the idiom. They are creatures to explore for the ancient Chinese scholars pursuing poetic, romantic moods.

The entire device looks like a rotating lantern. The viewers watch the water and rockery rock as though they are seeing a drawing of mountain scenery or of a walk in a scenic area. The reflected lights from the glass of the device produce a circle that looks like a moon. In the process of creation, I strive to blend dreamy environments.