The influence of Liu Jianhua’s training in ceramics can be seen in the great technical skill of the painted fiberglass installation Pillows. Liu Jianhua previously worked in the porcelain factories in the city of Jingdezhen, world famous for its porcelain production. The clean white porcelain-like surface appears impersonal, yet gives the visual illusion of a pillow made of a soft welcoming material, representing the warmth of home. However, the pillows are in fact hard, rigid and not meant to provide the comfort we expect. The transformation of an indoor object to an outdoor sculpture displaces the pillows from their domestic environment while denying their original function.
In Liu Jianhua’s art, we hear a voice that hints to us that only by studying issues of Chinese culture from an individual angle can we break down the stereotypical views. With Pillows, he suggests that the most effective method of analysis is through everyday life.