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Arts Tatler Takes 5: Liza Lou, The American Artist

Tatler Takes 5: Liza Lou, The American Artist

Tatler Takes 5: Liza Lou, The American Artist
By Hong Kong Tatler
November 06, 2019
The American artist, known for shimmering sculptures and installations made with glass beads, is having a moment in Asia, with new work being shown by Lehmann Maupin during the West Bund Art & Design fair in Shanghai this month, as well as two exhibitions in Seoul. She shares five things that inspire her:

1/5 Beads

Photo: Courtesy of
Photo: Courtesy of

Beads date back over 80,000 years to Eastern Morocco, so it’s a very loaded material. When I first began to work with them, I knew them from a more Western point of view—that beads are for wedding gowns and earrings. But I soon discovered that this is quite a serious material to other cultures.

See also: Tatler Takes 5: Lauren Santo Domingo Of Moda Operandi

2/5 Wallace Stevens

Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Literature is essential to my imagination and thinking. When it came time to title my new works for my show in Seoul, I went through my notes from the past year of reading and found central themes emerging.

For example, there’s this poem by Wallace Stevens called “Sunday Morning,” which asks questions about beauty and life and death. It’s a great poem.

3/5 Saint Clare of Assisi

Photo: Simone Martini—The Yorck Project (2002)/Wiki Commons
Photo: Simone Martini—The Yorck Project (2002)/Wiki Commons

I’m not religious, so my interest in Saint Clare of Assisi is secular. But I’m drawn to people who choose to live an unconventional life. St Clare of Assisi’s real name was Chiara Offreduccio. She was this rich girl who was all set to be married—and this was back when women had no choice—but she renounced everything, chopped off her hair, and threw away her silken gowns to wear a sackcloth and sleep on the floor.

In this day and age, when the prevailing aspiration is to have more and more and more, it feels inspiring to consider people who would willingly choose less as a form of devotion.

See also: 10 Hong Kong Art Exhibitions To See In November 2019

4/5 Meditation

Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash
Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash

My work is about process, not about completion. It’s a daily process—each moment matters, each bead can become a breath and a way of staying present.

On Instagram, I sometimes post videos of candles— like meditation aids. It feels good sometimes to try to post something that stops people literally swiping through their lives. People say to me, “Can you keep posting those please? It’s the only thing that stops me.”

5/5 South Africa

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

I’ve had a studio in Durban, South Africa, for the past 15 years and I work with a team of artisans there. I used to live there and that was part of my practice, working daily side-by-side with my team of women.

Even though I’ve moved back to the United States, I’ve kept the studio going because the women I work with are very dear to me. All of us have our own families, but then there’s the family life in the studio. It’s a super special environment, and a super special place.

See also: Singita Founder Luke Bailes On Asian Travellers' Growing Interest In Africa


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