Roles in Archive: Artist
b. 1978 Hubei, China
The title of Liu Chuang’s elegantly simple project Buying Everything On You (2006-08) is self-explanatory. To create the work, the artist approached people on the street and offered to purchase everything on their person. Liu takes the possessions of those who accept his offer, which, in this case, are four members of his generation, and lays the bartered possessions out on low plinths in arrangements that call to mind both taxonomical research and funereal rites. On the one hand, Liu is providing us with a snapshot of contemporary consumer proclivities in an era when forces both social and personal encourage us to define ourselves by the things that we own. On the other, he is providing us with a portrait with an empty center: while his subjects may be defined peripherally, by their clothes, or the contents of their pockets, they necessarily remain elusive.