Arthur Liou’s heart-wrenching witness to his little girl’s battle with leukemia serves as a mix of inspiration and anguish for his recent video and audio installation “Blood Work”, opening October 15 for a three-week exhibition at the J. Martin Gallery in Fountain Square.
Now two, Liou’s daughter Vivian was diagnosed with the disease when she was five months old. “In a way, the fight against cancer is a civil war within her, and the potent drugs leave devastating impact to the body,” explains Liou. “The chemotherapy affects both cancer cells and normal cells. My use of high-definition video allows the viewer to experience the similarity between the two types of cells and the treatment process.”
As medical-like as the videos “CBC” and “Blasts” seem, these non-scientific visualizations reveal a passion in the painstaking creation of the cell-like structures using dozens of little images of his crawling child and the barefoot bottoms of her feet, symbolically fading as the chemo takes its toll. The composition creates such a strong communication of the effects of leukemia that you may not at first notice the patient’s presence in the video.
Liou’s powerful representations have quickly gained attention and critical acclaim. “Blood Work” received a Rising Star Award in the Fotofusion 2004 conference, and is touring international venues, including the Asian American Arts Center, New York; Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago; Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta; Museo de Art, “Ángel M. De Rosa”, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and various electronic/video arts festivals in Italy and Brazil.
Liou is the Area Head and Assistant Professor of Digital Art at Indiana University in Bloomington. His previous exhibition, “Things that are Edible”, was reported by the Indianapolis Star to be one of the top five visual art events in Indianapolis in 2002.
Concurrent with the show, a still from “CBC” will be featured on a Massachusetts Avenue billboard by Your Art Here (YAH), a non-profit community arts organization that uses commercial billboards as public art spaces. Arthur Liou will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with the sale of a limited number of DVDs. “Blood Work” opens October 15 and runs through November 7 at the J. Martin Gallery, 874 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, 317-916-2874.