The Priestess of Beauty

Wang Xiao

The heroine in the movie POEM, in the process of observing the subject, felt the agony of the girl who killed herself in the river, and finally created a poem of life, so as to complete her concern of a soul. Correspondingly, the artist Lizi, while creating the painting series of The Black Dahlia, peeked into the softest part of a soul at its darkest time. There arrived a moment of empathy in between the artist and the tortured body of the subject: the grave hurt, having surpassed the limitation of time and space, constructed the beauty in her painting.

The artist went beyond the sight and the cognition of a normal person, experienced the extremity of hurt with the subject in spirit, which was the combination of soul and body. Lizi experienced this spirit, provided an access for the audience to link the sub-consciousness and the transcendence. On this secluded lane, a soul achieved its deserved respect and whole love. “The ‘easel painting’ is to describe an atmosphere and a feeling. Similarly, the movie is to present an atmosphere and a way of thinking; the job of the artist is to display one’s particular way of thinking, through audio-visual language. Just as in Kurosawa Akira’s movies, all his way of thinking and logic are intertwined in the works.

While talking about her comprehension of movies, Lizi revealed her viewpoints onto language and form, aesthetics, from the perspective of an artist. Her painting works often leaves the audience of a feeling to be on the scene; the atmosphere that she creates with her subjective experience feels like the dreamy world of spirit.

This reminds us of the definition of Pier Paolo Pasolini that a movie is a ‘dream’. Lizi is an artist who is good at creating dreams. The dreams on her painting fit in Freudian psychoanalysis. The latter is about rational analysis and exploration, while Lizi’s paintings are close to kind totems of a ritual, which are both out of deep feeling and rational insight. Similar to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s movies adapted from the literature works, Lizi also connects the present with the collective memories of the tales in the history. Or you can see that she is more willing to get related to what happens in the past. Her creations lead to the known and decided truth, and she chooses the way to love and the subject to be loved.

As is in the works like Gaius Julius Caesar in Representation of Time and The Black Dahlia, her creation ideas are fully presented in these works.

Her video works are also the extension of these concepts. A Farewell is the most typical one. She gained her inspiration from an Iranian movie A Farewell. Iizi borrowed the sad atmosphere from the movie and creates a work with deeper power in. In order to create this short movie, she tried all her best to find an old Armenian man, who did the voiceover for the heartbreaking moment of the two lovers. What is worth mentioning here is the nation of Armenia suffered from very brutal massacre by the Turkish Muslim due to their Christian identity in history. Therefore, the national language of the Armenian presents kind of beauty of sadness. A Farewell is a show of this beauty. So Lizi is among the few who knows the beauty of sadness.

All the subjects in her works are the representations of ruthlessness, Caesar the tyrant, or the individual or nation under extreme violence. All what she is seeking for is the extreme harm and hatred which are rare in real world. But what cannot be neglected is that she has love in her heart and the ability to love, which is flaming fueled up by both extreme harm and hatred.

Both love and hatred are great feelings, the two sides of a noble soul.

Balzac once said, description and plot are two opposite existences, but which constructs the foundation of literature.

Lizi’s works, including paintings, videos and sculptures, all prove the thought of Balzac. Contrast makes beauty. She is the messenger who conveys beauty to us. Or we can say that she is more like the priestess in a religious ritual, who helps us to communicate with the kingdom of beauty and teaches us how to make worship.

The ancient Greek hero time is full of tales and tragedies in which the priestess, more like a queen to shoulder duties, often led to self destruction due to her extreme aspiration of love, so as to cause the overturning of the whole nation.

Lizi is very much like the Medea under the pen of Euripides. The audience who appreciate her works may gain the courage to pursue beauty or be shocked and moved by her courage of destruction.