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Weird and wonderful world

By Wen Chihua (China Daily)

08:24, May 07, 2012

The scene is bizarre: goblin-like bronze sculptures with human faces but no torsos sport demon wings and shoes - and sometimes two heads, one of which protrudes from the tips of their tails.

Distorted? Indeed.

Demonic? Perhaps.

Whimsical, festive and fun? Definitely.

"That's the point I want to make in my works - no torso, no desire," the figures' creator Liang Changsheng says at the group exhibition The Adventures of the Three Loafers in Beijing.

"And if there's no desire, there's no conflict. And if there's no conflict, there's no violence."

Liang believes the torso is the seat of men's lust for sex and food.

"Those two things are the root of all evil," he says.

So, his humanoid bronze sculptures, paper-cuttings and drawings create a "visionary utopia" he calls "He Le" - "Harmonious and Happy". It's meant to represent a world of perfect joy.

This intimate realm has many unique features. Hierarchy disappears. The demonic-looking humanoids are free of corporeal form. They live in peace and harmony, frolicking, flirting and flying as they please.

Unlike many contemporary Chinese artists, who have relegated their subject matters to political icons or symbolism that appeals to Western galleries, Liang has long remained fascinated by Buddhist iconography, Chinese painting and such folk art traditions as paper-cuttings.

The energy of Liang's vision was incubated during his early engagement with paper-cut practices. He often combines such traditional motifs as Buddhist figures and phallic iconography, and magic subjects - like flying animals and dancing parrot heads with women's legs crossing over a man with spread legs.

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