Ziqian Liu uses the self portrait to investigate the coexistence between humans and nature. She combines often abstract representations of her body in carefully staged images with plants, fruit and flora that convey a sense of balance, peace and quiet contemplation. Her face is deliberately hidden in order for the viewer to identify and project their sense of self when viewing her work. The image allows for a multitude of interpretations, highlighting notions of identity, femininity, the natural world and our place within it. The balance achieved in her images alludes to the view that there is an equality and symbiosis between nature and mankind, and she strives for a state of harmony and beauty to reinforce this idea.
Liu’s innovative juxtaposition of the human body, mirrors, plants and fruit is often humorous and absurd. She invites the viewer into an interior world that presents the female as soft, delicate with an inner strength. The mirror represents the idealized world she wishes to live in, and the integration of the ‘outside world’ is a reminder of the imbalance in reality, and the artist’s wish to ‘adhere to the order and principles in our hearts’. Her imagery appears intimate, capturing a moment in time that is private and portrays a sense of calm and control. The female figure is the protagonist of this inner world, encouraging the world to pause, contemplate and to pursue an existence of balance and peace.