Linhui Li
18-23 Sep 2018

Once serene,
the rivers of X-Park.
Once blossoming,
the flowers of X-Park.
Once pure,
the images of X-Park.
In the works of Linhui Li (1990-, Ürümqi), there is an ambience of nostalgia. It may be her use of film cameras or the process of how Li realises her photographs. X-Park is a series of performance-cum-photographic works that Li has developed in the public parks in Ürümqi, her childhood parks. Her photographic style shares lucid similarity with Poetic Realism. Inspired by French Impressionism, Poetic Realism movement -created by a group of French filmmakers in the 1930s- expresses the deep longing for an obsolete reality by recreating it in a lyrical style. However, the accidental performative feature in Li’s work inadvertently reflects the controversial societal issues, allowing her work to morph into a type of post-Poetic Realism that documents societal issues.
The performers in Linhui Li’s performance-cum-photography are security guards who perform their daily duties of scanning bags at the entry and exit of the public parks in Ürümqi. Each X-ray scan, hereby performance, disrupts Li’s films; sometimes giving them extreme exposure, pixelation or blurring effects. The results are reminiscent of a Georges Seurat painting. The performance acts as an editing process, or perhaps an intervention for Li’s photographs and the end-results are untamed. In the X Parks of Ürümqi, there is freedom to photograph, but there is also imprisonment of the pictures. Perhaps, one must be in a position of a “performer (authority)” to be truly free in an age of X.
the rivers of X-Park.
the flowers of X-Park.
the images in X-Park.

Text by Henrietta Y. Xie

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