2024 CAFA Graduation Season | Liane Chu: Have you seen yourself on the Tower of Information?


On May 1, 2024 CAFA Graduation Season was officially unveiled at CAFA Art Museum. Just as the theme “Direction of the Heart” contains good wishes and sincere expectations for Class of 2024 at CAFA, 2024 CAFA Graduation Season does not only contain their art achievements,  their enthusiasm and perseverance in creation are also reflected, which further conveys the imagination and expectations of young students as they embark on the road to the future.

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The artwork “I Want You to See Me” was exhibited at the graduation show01 艺术家个人照.jpg

Portrait of Liane Chu


By Liane Chu, School of Experimental Art and Sci-Tech Art at CAFA

Q: Please introduce the inspiration and thinking behind your graduation creation.

Liane Chu: My graduation work “I WANT YOU TO SEE ME” was influenced by my interdisciplinary academic background. I majored in Communication and New Media at the City University of Hong Kong for my bachelor’s degree, and then pursued further studies in the School of Experimental Art and Sci-Tech Art at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, specializing in comprehensive art and cross-disciplinary research. I have always been searching for an expression that can perfectly integrate art and the internet, aiming to showcase this cross-disciplinary creativity through concrete imagery.

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03 (动图)作品《我就想让你看见我》在毕业展现场.gif

The artwork “I Want You to See Me” was exhibited at the graduation show

The inspiration for this work stems from my reflections on the contemporary internet ecosystem. In the age of the internet, personal fame is closely tied to significant wealth, and people yearn for attention in a short period of time. However, cyber fame is like a balloon, being capable of expanding rapidly but also prone to disappear quickly. My work is not only an installation sculpture, but also a behavioral interaction and conceptual art piece, as well as a 14-day human experimental observation. It comprises approximately 100 balloons, each with my portrait printed on one side and the phrase “I WANT YOU TO SEE ME” on the other side. When the audience sees the back of the balloon, its mirrored surface reflects their own faces, reminding them that what they are actually seeing is themselves. This design aims to guide the audience to reflect on themselves and confront their inner desires.

These balloons have been stacked on an iron tower, forming a balloon tower. During that time, I distributed a certain number of balloons to the audience every day, allowing them to wander freely inside and outside the venue. These balloons served as informational nodes, spreading my portrait throughout the crowd, attracting attention from countless people and triggering further discussion, which turned me into an “internet celebrity.” However, as time went by, the balloons gradually deflated, metaphorically representing the fading of fame.

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06 作品《我就想让你看见我》与观众互动.jpgThe artwork “I Want You to See Me” interacts with the audience

While the exhibition was held at CAFA Art Museum, I have conducted various interactive experiments every one or two days. On the first day, I distributed fully inflated balloons, which, like trending topics on the internet, quickly garnered attention and were snapped up. On the second day, I priced the balloons for sale, but only one person bought them, revealing the truth behind the “internet celebrity” phenomenon—people may like you, but when it comes to paying, they often weigh the pros and cons. On the third day, I distributed deflated balloons, the audience picked them up, looked at them, and put them back, symbolizing the decline of online popularity and the passing of “internet celebrities.” Additionally, I collaborated with a student market to sell the balloons, representing the online behavior of “riding on others’ popularity” to seek new exposure opportunities.

These different interactive behaviors triggered diverse reactions from the audience, prompting people to reflect on the profound impact of the internet effect on individuals and society.

As the exhibition was close to its conclusion, I would post all the comments collected during the exhibition on the balloon tower, transforming it into a true “Tower of Information.” I would wait for each viewer to arrive, and what they would see standing before them was no longer a “face” on a balloon, but a real, live me. I would confront all the comments directly and ask the audience, “Have you seen yourself?”

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Exhibition View of“I Want You to See Me”

Before the end of the exhibition, the artist collected all the comments and attached them to the balloon tower, asking the audience in return, “Have you seen yourself?”

Q: When the exhibition was presented at CAFA Art Museum, what feedback have you received?

Liane Chu: During the creation process, I have anticipated that the final form of my work might generate discussions and controversies. I have prepared myself to face any discussions, praises, and criticisms. I chose balloons, a seemingly inexpensive material, to metaphorically represent the fleeting nature of the internet. Just as the title of my work suggests, each balloon is imprinted with my portrait, and on the back is the phrase “I Want You to See Me.” This form serves as a metaphor for everyone may aspire to become famous and gain attention. The process that ordinary people rise to fame is as rapid as a balloon being blown up and inflated, and it is also extremely easy for them to deflate like a balloon, which is what we refer to as a celebrity losing their popularity.

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11 作品《我就想让你看见我》布展过程.jpgThe installation process of the artwork “I Want You to See Me”

After the exhibition began, I distributed balloons on site, interacted with the audience, and read the comments about my work on social media platforms. The feedback was very thought-provoking and inspiring for my creation. I find that when creating installation sculptures or interactive performance art, it's actually difficult to predict reactions from others. They may choose to participate in the interaction or not, and these are uncontrollable and unpredictable. Therefore, when creating, we must consider possible scenarios and be prepared to respond in a timely manner. Often, the audience’s interactions make my work become more complete and valuable. For example, on the first day of the exhibition, I didn’t expect people to rush for the balloons so quickly, but many people did. It was quite an interesting moment during the exhibition.

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14 作品《我就想让你看见我》展览现场.jpgExhibition View of “I Want You to See Me”

Q: What challenges did you encounter during the creative process, and how did you overcome them?

Liane Chu: During the creative process, I constantly delved into the deeper meanings of materials, engaging in a dialogue with myself and asking “why.” Why did I choose an iron tower? Why did I stack the balloons on top of the tower? Why did I opt for a mirror-like material for the balloons? Through experimentation with different materials and multiple attempts, I finalized the ultimate version. The balloon tower symbolizes an “information tower,” carrying the transmission and convergence of network information. The mirror-like material of the balloons reflects the faces of the audience, an act that examines self-image while revealing and expressing inner desires. I constantly asked “why,” seeking to uncover the philosophical logic behind these materials, actions, and words. Through my work, I aimed to convey my reflections and insights on the internet ecosystem and its effects on the audience.

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16 作品《我就想让你看见我》设计图稿.jpgThe design sketch of the artwork “I Want You to See Me”

Q: The theme of 2024 CAFA Graduation Season is “Direction of the Heart.” Do you still remember the aspirations you had when you were enrolled? As graduation approaches, how do you feel now? What are your expectations and aspirations for the future?

Liane Chu: When I was enrolled in CAFA, my mentor told us that success was not easy and the path to becoming an artist was full of challenges. However, I firmly believed that by constantly pushing myself to the limit, I could open up endless possibilities and opportunities. At the every beginning when I reached CAFA, my painting style was still quite immature. I mostly applied simple lines to outline my oil paintings, and my understanding of color and aesthetics was still superficial. After undergoing systematic painting training and in-depth study of experimental art, my artistic style underwent significant changes. I began to experiment with incorporating technological and futuristic elements into my works, reflecting on the diverse impacts of the online world on people. For example, my new series of oil paintings titled “Normal and Abnormal” is based on my personal experience and reflections on the online world. Through jerky brushstrokes and bold use of colors, I express the concept of “flashing screens” in the digital world. These are all achievements of my persistent learning and breakthroughs.

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18 我在制作于北京SKP-S展出的装置作品.jpgI was creating an installation artwork for exhibition at SKP-S in Beijing.

19 个展刹那之间现场,图中两幅作品为震旦美术馆馆藏.jpegThe solo exhibition “Instant” features two works from the collection of the Aurora Museum of Art

 20 作品在台北当代2024展出现场.jpgThe artwork was exhibited at the Taipei Contemporary 2024 

The conclusion of my degree show marks the end of my postgraduate studies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. These three years have been enriching and wonderful, with every moment deeply imprinted in my heart. As I prepare to leave CAFA, my heart is filled with reluctance. While looking back, it seems like just yesterday that I had my first class as a postgraduate student, collaborating with classmates on artistic creations and receiving thoughtful critiques and guidance from teachers. These precious memories replay like a movie in my mind and will forever accompany me on my journey ahead.

In the future, I will continue to explore more diversified forms of artistic creation. My graduation work, “I Want You to See Me,” is a good start. I have tired a combination of sculpture installations and experimental interactive art, receiving much positive feedback. I will continue to experiment with the fusion of different media and materials, maintaining a curious and exploratory spirit towards the unknown, searching for unique dialogues and collisions between them, and creating more innovative and expressive works.

Courtesy of Liane Chu, edtied by CAFA ART INFO.