Born in Taipei in 1964, Liu graduated from the then Taiwan Provincial Vocational School of Nursing and Midwifery in 1991, and worked as a nurse in gynecological operation room in Taipei Veteran’s General Hospital during 1983 to 2010. She took courses of art design in her spare time outside operation room, and started creative works in 1994. It took her only several years until she became a new star that received great attention in the contemporary art industry. Since 1996, she has been selected into Taipei Fine Art Exhibition for 3 consecutive years, selected in the 8th International Biennial Print Exhibition, R.O.C. in 1997, attended Taipei Biennial in 1998, participated in Liverpool Biennial, UK, and exhibited her works in Taiwan Pavilion in La Biennale di Venezia in Italy. Liu has shown her strong creativity in the late 90s, while her works was also invited to be exhibited in places such as Museum of Modern Art in Fukuoka, Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, National Art Museum of China, and Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in United States. The interesting thing is, when she first joined the hospital and worked as a nurse at age 19, she never left the nursery work ever since. This is a rather special inter-disciplinary sample among the artist in Taiwanese contemporary social group.
As a winged creature with a lion’s body and a human head in ancient Egyptian mythology, Sphinx has faces of both female and male. It stops passer-by and asks them the riddle about human’s aging process, taught by one of the muses. Applying the aforementioned myth, LIU Shih-Fen reshaped herself into this inquiring figure, while the images projected on the wall include media such as pencil sketches and modern medical imaging of human bodies, inferring the process from birth to grave. The artist initiates her questions and contemplations toward this issue with her brilliant work.
Working in places such as gynecological operation room, Liu has therefore been exposed to all kinds of bodily experiences, listened to different women telling stories about their bodies, and witnessed how the modern medical system tames these bodies. Gender is not inborn, but also one of the priority targets upon which authority to be constructed. With career and experience as such, her works were initially endowed with a strong sense of physicality, and tinted with equally strong color of retrospect on gender issue.
How modern bodies are viewed in the eyes of authorities? How are they reenacted and described? In the contemporary view upon bodies, how would the boundary between normal and abnormal, and that between healthy and biased be judged and depicted? Liu achieves in finding the correct phrases to answers the aforementioned questions from the medical visionary system she is most familiar with: autopsy, that is the technology located in the center of modern authority. By implementing autopsy, the interior of human body is flipped inside-out in a meaningful order. Via dissecting in distinctive order, classifying, and reallocation, the standard by which how the sexual qualities of a body is thus discussed, and determined. In her works such as Daddy’s Feast and The 3-dimensional Sophistication of Membrane and Skin, she elaborates her delicate critiques against the authority implemented in medical treatment, and how authority structure glances upon body and desire.
She created her work via the angle of medical treatment, and her works allow her to reexamine the existing description upon gender, and the interflow of desire and emotion underneath relation between genders. Nonetheless, Liu does not consider it is her method to construct works via mere theory, but rather, she attempts to start from her own experience, retrospect upon the body and mind of herself, and explore new potentials for freedom. With her identity as a medical worker, Liu has easy access to materials such as skeleton fluoroscopy, gene maps, and MRI, better understanding how these results are generated and their implications, hence allowing her to be able to decompose and reinterpret the materials. After 2000, from her original critical pieces, Liu’s works start to develop care for female qualities and the sensory threadof life, such as her work in 2001, 99 Gene Maps about Loves: Eyeballs of Lovers and in 2003, the filmography works with an anencephaly infant, Wa Bao, as the antagonist, were all filled with emotions and warmth.
|English title：||Clinical Path of Sphinx|
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Collection Unit：||Collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1961-1970|