2014.05.31 – 2014.07.10
LI Ming’s works usually originates from a certain image, word, action or atmosphere that interests him.However, from a certain period, intuition and spontaneity are no longer his first choices to rely on. And he must break the chains.
The difference between The Mediation and his previous exhibitions is, LI Ming begins to think about the possible reasons and extensions of his motivations that are beyond sensitivities. Also, during the procedures of making and presenting the works, he applied the “artificial elements” intentionally and left traces.These changes are more like the inside requirements from the artist himself to gradually build up a structure of his work. “Control” has been his focus during this period. Take MOVEMENTS as an example.In the exhibition room, we see an artist, surrounded with images of him, running on a timeline that is endless but at the same time stands still at the present. His chase is simultaneous but time-lapse. If saying that video art was born with the signs like narcissistic, mirror-reflected and synchronous (the subject-object relation is cancelled, space squeezed and the continuity of time dissolved) and criticism towards these, then in MOVEMENTS, these problems emerge again. And what we can also see is that, in the last shot, the artist is simply running, though there is not a real object ahead to chase after.
If the body of the artist in MOVEMENTS works as a tool and functions as a connection, in ZOOM, it hides behind the tool/equipment.LIGHTERS reveals the “back stage”. The distancing of the camera hinders the audience going further and involving in the pleasure together with the artist. The intended hindrance and distancing are rather kind of metaphor, and also gap that the exhibition left to us – the uncertainty of the connection between art and the reality, and of whether the efforts made by art towards its audience worked.
In fact, to LI Ming, video has never only been a medium for documenting actions, neither it is for his ambition towards filmmaking. The artist’s body has always been applied as the mediator bridging the performance and the video. The involvement of the artist’s body has been a key feature that differentiates video from other visual forms of arts since its birth, and serves as the point of departure for many artists who made videos earlier. Today when the choice of medium in contemporary art has been more comprehensive, carrying out linear research on a certain medium seems not “contemporary” enough. But if it is as what Benjamin says, one medium will show again its initial potentiality when it goes to an end, then this revisit does have its own meaning. Also to the artist personally, this is a chance to reorganize the clue of creation.
Four channel digital video , color, sound
Video 1: 6min 27sec
Video 2: 7min 44sec
Video 3: 9min 33sec
Video 4: 8min 52sec
Original Format: HD 1080P25, 16:9 , 1440 x 1080
1, This is a disposable lighter made in 1990s, 7cm in length, 2cm in width and 1cm in height, with a bikini woman and a Lamborghini printed on its orange plastic outer case. One 60s born friend recalled that when he first knew this kind of plastic lighters in 90s, he found that the bikini woman on the lighter became immediately naked when being closed to heat that is no higher than 40 degrees.
2, During a conversation with a friend (CHEN Zhou), he took out a plastic lighter and discussed with me why there was such an ad saying “IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE WE COULD FIT SO MANY GREAT IDERS INTO BOMETHING BO THIN” on a lighter with a logo of apple.
3, Some lighters are serving as business cards with the name and address of places like hotels, bathing centres, garages and karaokes.
4, It is expected to find disposable lights wherever we go. They could be in red, green, blue, yellow or black.
5, The national lighter production bases are located in places like Ningbo, Wenzhou and Xiayi. Among them, Xiayi County of Shangqiu City in Henan Province has already become the largest one in China, which receiving the title of “China Lighter Production Base”. There are 276 companies producing lighters or the accessories, among which two enjoy the annual sale over 500 million, offering jobs for a population of 116 thousand, producing 6.5 billions lighters per year, with 2.6 billions for exportation. (from an online statistical table provide by “China Hardware Association”, 2011)
Due to the low price and usefulness, and also the function of “storing” fire，disposable lighter is not only a necessity for daily life, but also a kind of remnant to some extent. The manufacturers print popular images onto the lighters at their will, offering a violent definition of popular aesthetics. These images have been over circulated, flooded into every cracks of our daily life and pushed us to get used to them.
When first learning about the rising of the lighter industry in Xiayi County – brick houses were transformed into temporary factories, local residents changed to factory workers – out of the curiosity of searching the root of these images on the lighters, I decided to visit Huiting Town in Xiayi County as a client who wanted to order commissioned lighters. During that trip, I found Wangzhongwang Plastic, Ltd., a lighter factory with 10 years history. I commissioned some lighters there and filmed how a lighter has been produced.作品信息Information
Disposable lighters, handmade paper
200cm (H) X 142cm (W)
977 disposable lighters with red gas have been broken and blasted on this piece of paper.作品信息Information
Disposable lighters, handmade paper
110cm (H) X 80cm (W)
361 disposable lighters with red gas have been broken and blasted on this piece of paper.作品信息Information
Single Channel Digital Video , Color, Sound
05 min 51 sec
HD 1080P25, 16:9 , 1440 x 1080
I commissioned some lighters in Xiayi County, Henan Province.
This is a documentation of 361 lighters being broken and blasted. 361 here is not a metaphor and does not has a reference. It merely means the limit of how long my body could be physically consumed.作品信息Information
Eight channel digital video , color, sound
Video 1: 02 min 30 sec Video 2: 02 min 30 sec
Video 3: 02 min 30 sec Video 4: 02 min 30 sec
Video 5: 03 min 53 sec Video 6: 03 min 53 sec
Video 7: 03 min 53 sec Video 8: 03 min 53 sec
HD 1080P25, 16:9, 1440 x 1080
During four different times in the same space, the artist has completed an image making process from “imagination – realizing the imagination by means of a video camera – recovering the imagination through body movements”.
Treating his body as a prop, the artist interacts with various means of transportation in the video, offering meaningless “relationships” for the audience to consume.
In the video, “actions” have been “performed” as kind of texts – the serial movements as hidden montages in the long scenes, merely “occurs” without any meanings in fact. What the artist cares is whether his cooperating relationship with the video camera could interact with the audiences and how the artist, the video camera and the audiences control one another. Every prop shown in the video is not only a motivation that guides the artist’s movements, but also a trap leading audience to control the props by their consciousness. And these motivations are arranged into a certain pace to make the movements simply for looking at.作品信息Information
Two channel digital video , color, sound
video -1 : 23分 07 秒 / 23 min 07 sec
video – 2: 23秒 / 23 sec
HD 1080P25, 16:9 , 1440 x 1080