Li Yongbin


Li Yongbin
b. 1963, Beijing
Video artist
A self-taught artist, Li Yongbin explored different visual terrains before coming to video-making in 1995 with Come Round, a private work that records the inexorable disappearance at dawn of his late mother’s face projected on a tree. In 1996 he participated in the video exhibition ‘Image and Phenomena’ in Hangzhou with Face I, a one-channel one-angle piece, motionless and unedited—elements that characterize most of his video oeuvre to date. In this work his own face is portrayed with a hypnotic but intense gaze and with features blurred by the superimposition of the slide-projection of an old woman’s face.
The portrayal of an unsettled identity has always been Li’s main concern, but this has never been so powerfully manifested as in his Face series (1996–2002), each showing a face, most often the artist’s, being either replaced by another (Face IX, X), or distorted by rippling water (Face II), or consumed by melting heat (Face III), or pieced together through broken mirrors but never fully recovered (Face VIII). The face comes and goes like an apparition (Face V, VII), sinks into a pool (Face VI) or reveals itself only to vanish within the city seen through a window (Face IV). These works, simple yet strong, silent yet eloquent, poetic yet disturbing, were exhibited in ‘Another Long March’ at Breda in 1997 and at the Melbourne Biennial in 1999. In 2000, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels hosted Li Yongbing’s solo show. Recently, Li has begun a new series, entitled Sun, of which the first work was exhibited in Beijing in 2002.
Driessen, Chris and van Mierlo, Heidi (eds) (1997).
Another Long March: Chinese Conceptual and Installation Art in the Nineties (exhibition catalogue). Breda: Fundament Foundation.
Li, Yongbin (2000). ‘An Ever-lasting Memory’. Gargarin 1.2 and 16. Belgium: GAGAvzw.
Tang, Di (2000). ‘Who Am I? Face’: Li Yongbin’s Reflection on Mankind’. In Li Yongbin (exhibition catalogue). Brussels: Palais des Beaux-Arts. (Also in Wu Hung (ed.) (2001). Chinese Art at the Crossroads: Between Past and Future, Between East and West. Hong Kong: New Art Media, 339–43.)
TANG DI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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