This three-dimensional “character” is a sculptural exploration of written language. The 18-foot-tall sculpture is almost readable as the Chinese character 佛 (fo), which means “Enlightened One,” but the strong lines of the character forged from columns of steel are a blend of several different types of script. These calligraphic lines are also softened in places – positioned as if they are intertwined limbs of two beings. Other written languages also play a role in Liu’s exploration from the inscriptions on ancient oracle bones, to seal script, to scripts from his native Mongolia.
For Liu, these “spatial characters” become structures in space, as well as visual connections to history, culture, and the power of calligraphic lines to form meaning. By adjusting and changing the characters from such varied historical periods, he takes the characters out of context, freeing them from the need to convey a literal meaning. The resulting sculpture, architectural in scale and feel, is less about words than about the meaning behind words, and the human spirit behind the impulse to create words.