Transcendence: A Mirror of China: Solo Exhibition by Li Wei

curated by Zhang Zhaohui. Moca Beijing
october 2007

Li Wei is just one of many young Chinese artists whose art career parallels China’s escalating urbanization. His oeuvre mostly embodied in performance and computers enhanced photographic works, are a dialogue of his country’s new urban reality and reflect his wide concern for the life and survival of individuals. Due to globalization and the rapidly changing world economy, contemporary Chinese society is rapidly morphing as it speeds to catch up with the rest of the world. As a result, the global community needs to actively re-consider China’s current (and future) influence on the many different levels of society. A better understanding of young, avant-garde Chinese art can act as a vantage point for global citizens, enabling them to recognize and identify with the changes taking place in China.

His current work is defined by the separation of the head from the body, which is emphasized by his use of mirrors. Sometimes the only thing visible is his head, while in other works we see only his body with out a head. “I feel that the head (brain) controls everything, and that the body only completes the idea of the head,” says Li. “When I do the mirror series, viewers have the sense that the head is floating in the air, without roots.” The bifurcated relationship between the head and the body in Li’s work juxtaposes the complex tensions between ‘reality’ and ‘illusion’ in present-day China.

Li has indeed completed a large body of unique, creative work, which is indicative of his response to the changes of his society. His art exhibits an adventurous spirit while he strives to interact actively within a new social context. It is amusing, exciting, obsessive, ecstatic and transcendental, suggesting a critical moment of an individual’s destiny. There is an aspect of theater present throughout his entire repertoire. By viewing his works, one can insightfully extrapolate China’s current state of affairs as well as what’s going on in the minds of China’s youth generation. More importantly, the compositions show his insight into the psychological state of the Chinese during this era of unprecedented social transition. His art is shaped out of his visceral experience of China and the strong voice of his generation rather than produced to conform to the visual, stereotypical style we usually associate with Chinese art.

Exhibiting works will include: ‘Mirror Series (2000-2005)’, ‘Li Wei Falls to the Earth Series, (2002-2006)’, and ‘The Pause of Human Being (2005)’. Two videos introducing his performance will also be screened.