Today’s inspiration was sparked by the travel plans of Nemo Design’s Creative Director, Mark Lewman. He is on a plane today to China to be part of a pre Olympic art show. The “Lightning Bolt” show is supporting Nike’s sponsorship of BMX racing at the 2008 games. The venue is a converted oil tank located in downtown. The curiosity leads me to the work of Li Wei.
As the world gets cluttered with images after image it really does become difficult to stand out and have a signature to work. Li Wei work is a cross between performance art and suicide. In action sports we had an underlying mantra of shut up and put up. Don’t tell me what you are going to do, show me. Li puts himself into the work, literally. He has suspended himself above the Beijing skyline to illustrate his vision. I can’t help but wonder if the adrenaline is a key part of the art.
It is hard to also progress a body of work and continue to re invent your vision. Sally Mann had a difficult transition after her inspiration, her family, grew up. Li seems to have let his thirst for adreline move his work. The simple magicians mirror trick of 2000 has grown into high wire production. For example, the performance/photograph titled Free Degree Over 29th Story (2003), in which Li Wei’s body appears to float from a window on the 29th floor of Beijing’s Jianwai SOHO office complex. In the image, his body is held in gravity-defying suspension. Arms outstretched, body rigidly horizontal, Li appears on the threshold of either soaring miraculously among the skyscrapers of Beijing’s Central Business District, or plummeting gloriously like Evel Knievel.
Li has gone on to exhibit his work internationally, including recent solo exhibitions in Hong Kong, Madrid, Beijing, and Milan.