In order to investigate “the friction between then natural world and urban residents in China” (Widewalls, n.d.), Liu Di uses digital photography and manipulation to portray his series, ‘Animal Regulations.’
By exhibiting caricature-like wild animals on an urban landscape we are brought to think about our environment and surroundings and how they are affecting every other living thing around us. Liu Di embeds these enlarged animals situated amongst the urban ruins of the city of Beijing, highlighting them into an environment that has been forgotten, run down or under construction. By filling the emptiness of these images with wild animals, we cannot help but notice ‘the big rhinoceros in the room’, alluding to the “deeper issues here-the void is filled with an unwanted visitor and in order for it to go away something must change.” (Casal-Data, 2014) The images have political undertones where,
“Between the nature and human society, between the material world and the intellect, between the obedience to and violation of the laws of nature It is only when our preconceptions are jolted that we wake up and truly see”
– Liu Di, (Casal-Data, 2014)
His artworks are truly a reflection on not only China but the world’s obsession with urbanisation and with this we risk destroying the environment we’re building on. Liu came up with this concept whilst on a bus in Beijing and having a “strong feeling that there was something missing between the ground and the sky” (White Rabbit, n.d.) Adding a large animal confined in the centre of the cityscape evokes a message that would be “powerful and impossible to ignore, but not something that would make people panic.” (White Rabbit, n.d.) Having the animal so large it’s confined within the environment makes the art quite uncomfortable and jarring for viewers, perhaps a wake up call to the deterioration of our world.
Di builds on his concept, producing ‘Animal Regulation II’, superimposing naked, disproportionate humans onto more urban landscapes. With this series he provokes us to look around and reconsider our surroundings by juxtaposing caricature-like humans onto urban landscapes. As these caricatures dehumanises the viewer, we can understand in more of a rational thinking that humanity exploits the elements of nature to solely benefit ourselves. The solemn face we see in the image above reveals our self realisation and awareness of this issue and that it’s almost too late to resolve this problem.
Through these images you can see his social commentary and how the explosion of urbanisation in China has caused a conflicting relationship between nature and humanity.
Animal Regulations: Photo Manipulations by Di Liu 2014, Theinspirationgrid.com. viewed 11 November 2016, <http://theinspirationgrid.com/animal-regulations-photo-manipulations-by-di-liu/>.
Casal-Data, V. 2014, Liu Di’s Massive Photoshopped Animals Bring Attention To Beijing’s Urban Ruins, Beautiful/Decay. viewed 8 November 2016, <http://beautifuldecay.com/2014/06/16/liu-dis-massive-photoshopped-animals-bring-attention-beijings-urban-ruins/>.
Chin, A. 2010, di liu: animal regulation series, designboom | architecture & design magazine. viewed 10 November 2016, <http://www.designboom.com/art/di-liu-animal-regulation-series/>.
Lark, J. n.d., Liu Di, WideWalls. viewed 8 November 2016, <http://www.widewalls.ch/artist/liu-di/>.
Liu Di – 3 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy 2016, Artsy.net. viewed 7 November 2016, <https://www.artsy.net/artist/liu-di?sort=-partner_updated_at>.
Liu Di 柳迪 | White Rabbit Gallery n.d., Whiterabbitcollection.org. viewed 10 November 2016, <http://www.whiterabbitcollection.org/artists/liu-di-%E6%9F%B3%E8%BF%AA/>.
Liu Di n.d., Pekin Fine Arts. viewed 11 November 2016, <http://pekinfinearts.com/en/artist/liu-di/>.