Chen Li: Fluid Identity


Image Courtesy:Magician Space

Diagonal Lines

Magician Space / Beijing


798 Art: The current group exhibition "Diagonal Lines" on moving images at Magician Space seems to be related to the central idea of this exhibition. Can you first talk about the overall ideas for this exhibition?


Chen Li:  This exhibition begins with a very abstract concept - "identity politics," in connecting the various directions, dimensions, and symbolic labels of ethnicity, nation, gender, geography, history, and individual identity and situations together, in other words, when the notion of identity is cast under the light of such precise vocabulary, can we escape from the established, monolithic framework to build subjectivity? This relates to the metaphor of "diagonal" in the exhibition title. Diagonal implies the existence of coordinates, which are constructed within a systematic framework. How do we define distance when the object does not exist? How do we build our subjects when duality does not exist? How do we concretize regions, countries, and peoples when the West and Asia are no longer the other? So the diagonal line on the poster is not continuous but in a state of flux. The exhibition is talking about identity politics from a non-binary, non-objective perspective.



798 Art: The subjects and perspectives of the works on view are diverse, can you elaborate on how the artworks chosen resonate with the exhibition theme?


Chen Li: None of the works in this exhibition is commissioned but has been selected to represent each artist's creative threads. When discussing with the artists and selecting artworks, I paid particular attention to the artists' overall practice, as each has a specific creative process, research interests, and ongoing methodologies. In addition to selecting their representative works, I also want to show how we engage with different issues when discussing non-binary individual identities and how we present the complexity, fragility, shifting, and ambiguity of identities through these issues. We can use general words to summarize the issues of their works. Still, the way they express themselves, the sources of their life experiences, and the methods of transformation are precisely the very personal expressions the artists make when confronted with these issues. I expect that this exhibition will bring the viewer a more sensitive experience and empathy, rather than a final answer or theoretical narrative. The language, narrative methods, and visual perception of these images vary greatly. There are popular music videos, live webcasts, filmic essays, and prosaic forms. In the end, they came together regardless of these differences, establishing a perception-oriented space on the bases of theme, concept, and ambiguity.


余政达《法咪咪》录像 7'52'' 2020


单频道录像 高清 彩色 25'00'' 2016-2019

何锐安《学子们》高清视频 有声 26'03'' 2019