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Liu Shiyuan, Almost like Rebar No. 3, 2018, C-print in artist’s frame, 50 x 62 3/4".

Liu Shiyuan

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Liu Shiyuan, Almost like Rebar No. 3, 2018, C-print in artist’s frame, 50 x 62 3/4".

Replete with footage of cloud formations, bird’s-eye views of forest streams, and koi fish, all set to a kalimba-driven soundtrack, the initial shots of Liu Shiyuan’s twenty-two-minute video Isolated Above, Connected Down (all works 2018) reminded one of the gentle scene-setting of a David Attenborough documentary. But the tone of Liu’s video, which served as the cornerstone of the artist’s debut solo show in New York, quickly departs from that of the beloved British naturalist, devolving into a dark comedy of manners that showcases the inanity of human social interaction. The two protagonists of this story—portrayed by the brilliant Swedish actors Lisa Carlehed and Anders Mossling—spar verbally across a dinner table. Over forkfuls of food, they articulate diverging opinions on how to raise their child, the potential adverse health effects of chemically treated takeaway

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