Mohan Liu‘s graduation exhibition was the most casual, playful and fun I have seen among B.F.A shows.
The theme of her show was Chinese students’ life in Iowa. She placed 13 paintings of Chinese students in mundane life in a huge bubble chat box against a black wall. In front of the main wall placed empty wine and alcohol bottles, which stands for her hobby.
Mohan’s exhibition was held last week. Everyday, she went to the Ark Gallery in Studio Arts Building where her show was, writing notes around the paintings, remembering her college life in both Chinese and English. Visitors and her friends also left comments on the wall instead of in a notebook.
Her painting instructors commented that the notes and chats boxes would took people’s attestation away from her works, but clearly everybody who attended the closing reception Friday loved them. Around 80 people went to the reception with flowers, food, gifts and hugs for Liu. American people didn’t read the Chinese comments, so Chinese students around translated for them.
The most striking note to me was the one that Liu wrote herself:
感谢我的大学生活。它让我学会了：做饭、独处、承受寂寞、一五二十、木匠、电焊、用英语骂人、疯狂购物、交朋友、玩骰子、狠心、坚强 & 舍不得。 Thanks to my college life. It enabled me to learn how to cook, stay alone, bear loneliness, be a carpenter, be a welder, curse in English, shop crazily, make friends, play dice games, be heartless, be tough. And I don’t want to leave college.
It was so sentimental. And I can relate to that very well indeed.
Thanks to Xinran Gu for allowing me to use three photos her took at the reception.