‘Those $18 tickets were like a pass into art heaven.’
Born 1980, Taipei, Taiwan
Working in the ticket office of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Mia Liu used to wonder if she would ever see tickets to a show of her works. The longing grew so powerful that she had some blank Guggenheim tickets stamped with her name to give to friends. Then it occurred to her: why not make artworks out of the tickets? For Guggen’ Dizzy (2009–2011), she took 60,000 tickets donated by the museum, which come folded in concertina stacks, and arrayed them in concentric circles on large wooden discs. With the aid of a computer, the artist then transferred her own abstract designs to the upper edges of the tickets using precisely measured strips of coloured masking tape. The patterns refract colour and light as they rotate, evoking the “sense of dizziness” the artist used to feel as she gazed up through the Guggenheim’s spiralling central atrium. Liu said,“the tickets become the canvas and the tape becomes my brushes … I’m making drawings with faith, with a dream, I guess.” A Route of Evanescence (2016), once again reflects on memory and identity through the medium of paper. Developed from an earlier work based on the Möbius Strip, A Route of Evanescence was made in memory of both her grandmothers. Liu says that she had begun to think of time as infinite, and life as a loop. She remembered reading, as a child, the story of the One-Thousand Armed Guanyin, who wanted to save all humanity and prayed to have enough hands to do so: this work, says the artist, is like a prayer for her grandmothers, made over a long period of time, with more than a thousand hands. Mia Liu took her title from a poem by Emily Dickinson about a hummingbird.