2015.10.30 – 2016.01.03
New Directions: Li Ming
On 30 October, UCCA presents “New Directions: Li Ming,” a project turning the Long Gallery into a site-specific video-installation entitled MEIWE. Based on critic Guo Juan’s short essay “The Appearance and Disappearance of a Group of People”, the installation delves into the psychology of several imagined characters while addressing art’s capacity to unify and divide.
The Long Gallery is transformed into a simulation of a road, a visual metaphor alluding to the mental journey to be assumed by viewers, with asphalt laid directly on the museum floor. The familiar texture, strange in its new context, mobilizes viewers through a disorienting passage of elements that include sound, video, text, and the flashing MEIWE logo.
Images of runners are projected onto the entry of the space, illustrating Li Ming’s belief that “there is no ‘I’; it is merely an illusion of existence.” Shared by an increasing number of “health enthusiasts”, running is both public and private, motivated by forces unclear to an outside observer. At the opposite end of the Long Gallery, the alternating voices of six mentally distressed characters can be heard. While some are confirmed hikikomori [sufferers of acute social withdrawal], others have been outcast since youth, victims of unrealistic standards of beauty or success. The archetypes they address are immediately identifiable, and as each relates his/ her plight, viewers are encouraged to navigate the length of the hall, forming groups of two, three, four, five, and six.
Li Ming’s personal involvement with the art collective Double Fly Art Centre provides insight into the aspects of “me” and “we” explored in the exhibition. As viewers maneuver his installation, the process of individual autonomy submitting to collective intention moves to the fore, broadening relations between artist, artwork, and audience before and eventually collapse once again.
Li Ming, ME I WE, 2015
Installation, video, sound, text, light, audience
“ME I WE” The relationship of a set of lens does not end here. They lens constitute a movement – in truth we can easily imagine how two mirrors reflect each other’s image – which is instantaneously formed. Nevertheless we can artificially assign it a temporal depth; such is the function of words. They can stretch, separate into layers, and even guide a process that is instantaneously completed. Words are different from pictures. They are not instant, smooth and clear to the eye. When one read words, one read them in linear fashion. It takes time to read them. Indeed the manner in which words are structured is itself one that requires advance thoughts.It is an attempt to create certain space. In this context, the formation of text is also an attempt to accomplish study and correction of oneself. From these words we can see how one (as in “ME”) develops to become many (as in “WE”). Each time an individual ‘grow’ to two, three, four and even five individuals, there will be changes in the relationship. During this process an increasing part of the external world is being drawn into one’s own world. Perhaps it is possible to identify certain relationship, scenario, phenomenon or circumstances that are familiar to the individual – they do not cross the boundaries of real life but are neither limited to its logic. Ultimately the hope is to create an increasing number of connecting points, real or imaginary, with reality. These words are not precise algorithms; they remain to be very much a part of language. Thus they often generalize or even allude to the wrong matter and stray from their train of thoughts before finally returning to their original premise. Insofar as they accompany such growth and shift in position, the scenarios and the issues involved in them also extend from one that is totally private to one that is semi-private, semi-public and completely public, until they congregate at an abstract level. Nonetheless this not the finishing points as we thought – it is only a point. Corresponding to this point is yet another point – the original individual entity. You can also imagine as such: these words ultimately make up a loop. Just as they seek to describe “a group of people” in this manner – “there is eventually presented a shape with a smooth surface. It may be round or somewhat round with curves replacing straight lines and sharp angles.” In the midst of it all, the words suddenly become voices, constituting a destructive intrusion. The voices are embedded in the transition from a group of people to an individual. They are spoken in the first person by individuals before they met others, and describe their stories or parts of the story. Yet at the same time we discover that the motive for such spoken statements which are detached from their temporal-spatial sequences, is to share or even seek help. All of them have the effect of bringing us back to the original title of “MEIWE” which is at once complementary and self-contradictory.作品信息Information