Review: Melted Paraffin Wax

Liu Dao’s latest exhibition explores sexual themes

The island6 (or Liu Dao) collective has been plying its LED-based artistic wares for eight years now. Even if you’ve not been to a gallery show you may have seen their works in locations such as in the lifts at K11 or inside the Andaz Hotel. Liu Dao’s imagery is often playful and sexual themes are never far away.

In this latest exhibition at their Fuzhou Lu space, the works explore themes of sexual domination and S&M. Purportedly inspired by dating experiences on Craigslist, Melted Paraffin Wax includes pieces such as a nude photograph of a BBW (big beautiful woman) and a video piece featuring a woman riding on the back of a masked, semi-naked man, whip in hand. At the centre of the gallery space is a narrow cage fitted with numerous padlocks which on the show’s opening night housed a woman dressed in black latex, but on our visit simply features a small, empty wooden chair. The effect isn’t quite the same.

Of more interest are the pieces where Liu Dao have combined video works on LCD screens with acrylic paintings – ‘Free to Air’ for example, which features a painting of an old-fashioned TV set, the screen of which is a video of a red qipao-wearing dominatrix flicking her whip at the viewer amid bursts of static.

The collection of works makes for a diverting few minutes and a welcome break from the shiny, sanitised surrounds of The Bund, but is unlikely to linger too long in the memory.

Melted Paraffin Wax is at island6 Bund until Monday 28 April.

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