THE GRADUATE EXHIBITION (2009)
"Shoe", Polaroid photograph (2009)
"BY PLACING THE OBJECT INTO THE PHOTOGRAPH, THE IMAGES YOU SEE ACT AS REMNANTS, TRACES OF THE PROCESS OF PHYSICAL EXPLORATION LI HAS UNDERTAKEN. THROUGH A CONSIDERED MANIPULATION OF HIS OWN SELF-IMAGE LI DRAWS OUT THE PERFORMATIVE QUALITIES OF THE CERAMIC OBJECT WHEN COMBINED WITH THE PALPABILITY OF THE BODY.”
THE GRADUATE EXHIBITION: CERAMIC IMAGE
The ceramic image was a concept I developed whilst studying Ceramics at Camberwell College of Arts. Having already worked on the live-making performance, ‘Untitled (Homage To Boy)’, I already began exploring new ways of working with ceramics, and consciously questioning the object itself and the arena in which it sits. I wanted to understand ceramics’ relevance and position within a world of images, and demonstrated that ceramics value could be re-placed into its image - into a separate entity and reality.
The project culminated with an art installation presenting ceramic images from 'The Statue' and 'The Commuter' series. Backstage, there was a studio workspace containing all the body-sculptures used to create the ceramic images. The audience is confronted with the photographs first and foremost, forced to question where the value of the ceramic object is placed.
“FRONT-OF-HOUSE, UNEXPECTED IMAGES TAKE PRECEDENT ON THE WHITE GALLERY WALLS AND ONLY THROUGH ACTIVE DISCOVERY DOES ONE WITNESS THE CERAMIC SCULPTURES IN TRANSIT, WAITING TO BE SEEN.” (Li, 2009, atcamberwell.com)
The ceramic images capture the single photographic moment where performance, fashion and ceramics could all combine, with the true essence of the ceramics only coming alive within the image. Most importantly, this vision was all about the ceramics.
“TAKING CERAMICS AS A CONCEPT, MY PERFORMANCES, PHOTOGRAPHS AND SCULPTURES PLAY WITH THE PLACEMENT AND DEFINITION OF THE CERAMIC ARTEFACT, SUGGESTING NEW AND ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF SEEING THE OBJECT. THE PIECES ARE METICULOUSLY CRAFTED BODY SCULPTURES, WHOSE TRUE MEANING IS ONLY REVEALED WHEN CAPTURED WITHIN THE FLEETING MOMENT OF THE PHOTOGRAPH. THE OBJECTS ARE GIVEN NEW LIFE BY DISPLACING THEM FROM THEIR TRADITIONAL REALM AS AN AUTONOMOUS TACTILE OBJECT, AND PRESENTING THEM WITHIN A WORLD OF FANTASY AND IMAGES.
ICONIC SIGNS AND SYMBOLS USED IN THE WORLDS OF FASHION AND HAUTE COUTURE TO CONSTRUCT PERSONAL IDENTITY, ARE TRANSLATED INTO THESE CERAMIC IMAGES AND BODY SCULPTURES. THESE SCULPTURES MASQUERADE AS APPAREL, AND ARE CENTRAL TO MY CONTRIVED PERFORMANCES OF ARCHETYPAL MASCULINE IDEALS. WHETHER IT BE ADORNING MYSELF WITH GRECIAN DRAPING, WEIGHTY ARMOUR, OR THE POWER SUIT – THESE ARE ALL ALTERNATIVE CONSTRUCTS TO MY MALE PERSONA. THROUGH THE CERAMIC IMAGE, ALL PERCEPTIONS ARE BLURRED – MANIPULATING BOTH THE IDENTITY AND PRESENCE OF MY SCULPTURES AND MYSELF." (Li, 2009, atcamberwell.com)
The human body is central to my work, through its actions, gestures and processes. My architectural body-sculptures continue this idea, articulating and re-presenting the body into different geometric visions. The body-sculptures take on any form, but quintessentially, they are the result of a process between the clay and I. In this sense, I play the role of both sculptor and sculpture in my work, performing as both the tool and the canvas, creating body-sculptures as the result of these gestures.
“THEY AWAIT FOR THEIR PRESENCE TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED; FOR THEIR PHYSICAL EXISTENCE TO TRANSGRESS AND TRANSFORM. BOUNDARIES BETWEEN OBJECTS AND IMAGES BECOME FLUID, AND THE OBJECT LIVES TO SERVE ITS IMAGE.”