At first glance Li Wei's photographs seem to come from either digital gimmickry or a suicidal madman. But Wei is neither. He's just a man fascinated with his environment. His stunning visuals are composed with the help of strategically positioned wires, mirrors and his own athletic prowess. Since stumbling into the art world at the turn of millennium he has grown increasingly prolific, taking his exhibitions all over the world. Don't Panic slowed him down long enough to discuss his (literally) earth-shattering creations.
Li Wei falls to the Earth
DP: You've been around for a while now. How has your style evolved over the past ten years?
LW: I'm still searching for ways that art can express my understanding of society. So there have been many different forms of my artworks that have come out. Since 2000 and the mirror series, I gradually began to understand the direction of my art. "Illusion reality" is an expression of mine. Since 2002 and the Li Wei Falls to series, I started to know exactly what I wanted and where I should go. From 2003, what I've done is to improve my thinking of art, to make it more thought provoking. These changes are important to me, but they didn't affect the main direction of my art.
Life at the high place
DP: What is the significance of burying your head?
LW: I am hoping to show that our personal thoughts are often buried, even to ourselves.
DP: What fears are you expressing and what are you criticising?
LW: These images show the living condition of human beings - how the power of politics is used as an excuse to put force on innocent people. These images symbolise wars, economic sanctions and globalisation for selfish interests.
Life at the high place #5
DP: Why don't you use computer trickery? Is the natural element key to the image?
LW: Yes, nature is very important for me, so it is vital to get the true experience of it. I had to myself hang on a wire... off a high building. That's the process, the instinct reaction I hope to experience. That cannot be displaced by computer.
Li Wei falls to the car
DP: Our current issue is themed on 'nature'. What do you feel has been modern man's biggest crime against nature?
LW: Modern men are voracious. We are so eager to get everything we can from the world. In doing so we become conceited. We think we can change the natural world. But we can't and we need to understand that.
DP: Your pieces look very dangerous. Do you never get hurt? If not how do you avoid doing so?
LW: I have been injured many times. But less often these days, now that I have a professional, technical crew who work with me. They do a great job of looking after me.
The baby leaves away from the earth
For more information on this artist, check out his website.
All images ©Li Wei
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