Future Greats: Li Jingxiong

selected by Li Qi. From the Summer issue of ArtReview Asia

By Li Qi

Li Jingxiong, The BAIYIN Project, 2016 (installation view, The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017, 2017). Courtesy UCCA, Beijing Li Jingxiong, Beast 54, 2016 (installation view). Courtesy White Space, Beijing

Li Jingxiong sets his course towards exploring a general social mechanism, or the lack of it, as an individual surviving and thinking in China’s intense social reality. His works could be considered as a collection of ruins, raided by the uncontrollable power of the Leviathan, and washed up by a flux of social evolution. The social incidents that serve as milestones for this rupture are composed and proliferated via social networks, a continuous series of documentary fictions based on the truth, with an ambiguous, rapid and fleeting nature. Li’s work is a form of documentary fiction that captures this changing terrain. Li employs various materials, from steel and copper to computer screens and keyboards, creating installations and graphic works that are marked by both social media and physical violence. Meanwhile, he adapts extreme means such as violence, a mutated instrument putting a sudden end to social contradiction, to confront the counter extremeness in social reality as a mutual action to achieve systematic balance. The artist brings out the brutality, tragedy and beauty in the confrontation, and subjects it to scrutiny. The works express concerns over the gambling ambitions of technological development, questioning the sacrifice of tradition and sense of social bonds for a nonnegotiable and undemocratic social progress.

Li is based in Shanghai. His solo show Violence On Demand will open at Gallery Exit in Hong Kong in September.

From the Summer 2017 issue of ArtReview Asia, in association with K11 Art Foundation