Chinese contemporary artist Li Wei will hold a personal art exhibition called “Fairy Tale” at Tang Contemporary Art Beijing 1st Space, Beijing’s 798 Art District, from September 5 to October 18, showing Li Wei’s new works from 2019 to 2020, including “Once Upon A Time” and “How are you, fine, thank you, and you?”.
Li Wei is good at injecting sharpness, anger and sadness into a seemingly active but indifferent world of art. For this exhibition, Li Wei explained: “the world is a battlefield of hand-to-hand combat. Whether it is the consumption of oneself or the resistance and desire to welcome the outside world, fairy tales are all the horn of charge sounded to meet the hand-to-hand combat, and also used to kill time. A fig leaf to temporarily offset the problem. But from a primitive point of view, a 7-year-old human is already a person in every way. The concept of childhood begins in modern society, but people will return to primitive society at any time. “
This exhibition will try to explain the dark side of fairy tales. As the exhibition side said, fairy tales are not only statements but also fables. The theme of fairy tales originated from medieval legends. In the narrative context of human beings, its primitive elements such as blood, absurdity and pornography have been replaced by calm and pleasant rhetoric and become stories that can be accepted and spread by the public. However, in modern society, with the change of a particular situation, people can return to some primitive instinct at any time– like the essence hidden in fairy tales– to occupy, kill, check and balance, even children who seem to know nothing.
Liang Wendao, a scholar, made an introduction to the exhibition. The following is an excerpt:
When I wrote this passage, I was at home in Hong Kong, imagining a distance caused by the plague that made it impossible for me to see the exhibition with my own eyes for the time being. Although I had heard Li Wei talked about his ideas, and I had even seen some of his works, I knew about their outlines, the light casting on them, and the sound around them. But after all, it was just my imagination.
I imagined viewers coming to a rearranged gallery, and from this moment on, we began to learn to grasp the distance. In case something happens. If these dolls are really the characters we guess, what are they doing now? It is obvious that they are playing games, just like what they will do when they grow up. And the kind of game they are going to play in the future is likely to change many people’s lives and even kill people. Fortunately, the only thing we need to worry about now is not to be hit by those cars. But after all, we can’t forget that we are the audience today. In fact, it is about the same as usual, always an audience at a certain distance. Sometimes even if you want to escape a little further, but still can not escape too far, their game, will eventually involve bystanders.
I had a strong feeling that this is really a scene, because something has just happened here, but I was not sure what kind of event it is. What on earth is going on here? In my imagination, this nature is very ambiguous, contains a huge space of internal contradiction and tension, is an important node of the whole exhibition, the dragon painting must be the last point on the eyes. But I know that there is another room in the back, which, in theory, should be closer to what we are now. It is not a fictional story, but a real event.
So I imagined that when we went back to the narrow door, through it, back to the bustling street of 798 outside, and back to Beijing in the sun, maybe we would understand the “distance” a little bit. Isn’t there a folk say: “distance produces beauty”. But the truth turns out to be that we are all willing to distance ourselves, reality and memory, not because it is more beautiful, but because it is a survival strategy.
Lí Wei was born in 1981, Beijing, China. He acquired the Master of Art from the third studio of the sculpture department of Central Academy of Fine Art, China. He currently lives and works in Beijing.
He has held solo shows in many museums and galleries over the world, such as “Fairy Tale” (Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2020), “Hearsay”&”Spring” (Residency, Pro Helvetia, Villa Sträuli, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2017), “Cellar and Garret “(Klein Sun Gallery, New York, 2017), “Secure for Now”, Tour Exhibition (Studio9 & X Gallery, HK, China – F2 Gallery, Paris, France – Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy, 2016), “Still Nobody Cares” (A2Z Art Gallery, Paris, France, 2015), “Nobody Cares” (Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2015), “Peace” (Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy, 2014), “Thank God (Gallery Yang, Beijing, China, 2013), “Confessional” (A2Z Art Gallery, Paris, France, 2013), “Hero”, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2011), Unpeaceful Christmas Eve -“A Block Of Cake” (Copy Café, Beijing, China, 2010), “The Hollow Men” (Hanmo Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 2009).
His works have been exhibited in “Asia Triennial Manchester” (Manchester Cathedral, Manchester), “The 4th Guangzhou Triennial” (Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou), Rietberg Museum (Zürich), Mulheim Museum (Mulheim), Lille Art Center (Lille France), Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Today Art Museum (Beijing), PACE Beijing, etc.
His artworks have been collected by numerous institutions including the DSL Collection (Paris), White Rabbit Collection (Sydney), Louis Vuitton Foundation (Paris), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin), etc.