A gatelike structure encased in 24-karat gold-plated beads, Barricade provides only the illusion of a barrier — it lacks any solid support. The nearby wall piece Conditions of Capture similarly disguises the motif of chain-link fencing with millions of vibrant glass beads. Part of a recent series on the architecture of confinement, these works have no power to contain beyond what imagination invests in them. They juxtapose the drudgery of restricted movement with the superficial image of luxury. Raised by religious fundamentalist parents, Liza Lou chooses to engage with emotionally fraught themes through the meditative, labor-intensive process of applying beadwork to objects. Since 2005 she has worked in South Africa, collaborating with Zulu women. Their traditional bead craft adds another layer of meaning to the art, signaling the anonymous labor behind the gilded mythologies that restrain us.
- Installation Views
The recipient of a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship, Liza Lou has turned the meticulous application of beadwork into a social practice that addresses issues of security, luxury, and self-sufficiency. Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, she now divides her time between the United States and South Africa, where she collaborates with local craftswomen to forge artworks and sustainable communities.