In 2011, Chinese-American artist Beili Liu held court in a gallery in Austin, TX, beneath a firmament of sharp, open-gaped scissors, 1,500 in total. Visitors to the space offered Liu pieces of fabric cut from a bolt by the entrance. Accepting the scraps like sacraments, Liu proceeded to stitch them together with needle and thread, creating a patchwork swathe that grew in size as the day wore on, eventually obscuring the floor around her. The installation, a performance piece dubbed The Mending Project, created an atmosphere of dangerous allure, evoking a sense of “urgency, concern, and fear, while simultaneously influence viewers through the calming and healing aura of the mending action,” according to Liu.


Liu grew up in China, where the traditional-looking scissors are used in every household. “There is a warm familiarity about them,” she told My Modern Met. “They are not ‘polite’ like the ones we are used to. You can use them to cut or stab. They can be sharpened when needed and last a lifetime.”

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Despite their capacity for violence, scissors, like sewing, often fall under the woman’s “domestic domain.” Such is the incongruity that lies at the heart of the female aspect—a “seemingly impossible” balance between fear and hope, aggression and gentility. “I am interested in investigating the power of the humble action of ‘mending,’ as a woman artist,” Liu said.

+ The Mending Project

+ Beili Liu

[Via Imaginarium SiouxWire]