an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 27-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Ryan Walker. Location: Toronto, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2018.

MEET with artist An Te Liu curated by star architect Marianne McKenna.

An te liu
1
MY FIRST COMPUTER COST ME A FORTUNE.
2
It was a Mac Classic, it had 800k of memory, and all it could do was word-processing.
3
I have a soft spot for Apple computers because I’ve been using them for ages.
4
Things pass through our lives, but what do they mean to us? How can we remember them or can we?
5
WHAT ARE THE ECHOES OF OBJECTS AFTER THEY’RE GONE?
6
7
THE FREEDOM TO FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY WHERE IT LEADS YOU IS A PRETTY SPECIAL PLACE TO BE.
7.1
My grandfather travelled all over the world and spoke seven languages. He went from Taiwan to Tokyo for university and then went to graduate school for theology at Cambridge in England.
8
I never took art classes in high school. In university, I wanted to read the great books, to study history, philosophy, literature, art history, and languages. I was just fascinated by the making of art through different eras. I studied Greek and Roman, medieval, Early Renaissance, Baroque. I spent two summers in Italy in Siena, studying mostly Early Renaissance art.
9
I BECAME A KIND OF HISTORIAN.
10
I knew how to think and write about art, but I wasn’t very experienced with my hands at that point. So I went to an architecture school in Los Angeles which was quite experimental.
11
So I learned how to make stuff, I ended up with a Masters degree in architecture, worked in architecture offices in L.A., in Paris. Then I set up my own design practice…
12
… but after a year or two, I decided to switch course.
13
WHAT REALLY MATTERED TO ME WAS THE FREEDOM TO BE INQUISITIVE AND EXPERIMENT.
14
When you’re in school, you’re in this great bubble of thoughts and ideas. You’re operating critically, in a very pure way.
15
With art, the challenge, or the problem is often one that most people would not have thought existed, or were unaware of.
16
GRADUALLY, I CONCENTRATED ON MY OWN RESEARCH, TACKLING QUESTIONS THROUGH MAKING - WITHOUT ANYONE ASKING ME TO DO IT.
17
18
I’M FASCINATED BY TIME-HONOURED MATERIALS LIKE CERAMICS AND BRONZE.
19
I did an exhibition of ceramic sculptures last year in Shanghai, and I was thinking, ‘Well, it’s kind of funny that a lot of the stuff I used for this show originally came from China as these sort of crappy consumer goods. And now I’m bringing them back as art objects.’ They took this funny trip: they got exported, and then came back as artefacts.
20
THEY TAKE ON A TOTEMIC, ANTIQUATED APPEARANCE.
21
Artefacts seen in historical and anthropological museums are valuable because they let us know something about people that no longer exist and cultures that are distant in time and in place.
22
IN A WAY, THE PRESENT IS HISTORY IN THE MAKING.
23
The whole process of working with materials from the present and sending them back to the past is re-routing attention back to them in a way.
24
I like the idea that the work can instill a sense of curiosity and give an opportunity to pause and reflect, and maybe scratch your head and wonder what it is you’re looking at.
25
WHAT IF WE COULD, IN THE END, RETURN TO THIS OBJECT WITH A NEW SENSE OF FAMILIARITY?