Li Wei and his Amazing Art

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“I want to tell people that nothing is impossible. I break through gravity in my pictures, I act like a meteorite.”

            With such impassioned words, one cannot help but wonder about the identity of the person who is quoted above. His name is Li Wei and that was his statement in an email he wrote to a magazine. But who is Li Wei? And, more importantly, what does he do?

            Li Wei, is a contemporary artist from China who is best known for photography works that seems to defy physics, especially gravity and logic. His fame started when his works, “Mirrors” and “Falls” created a feeling of high adrenaline rush among spectators. Pictures of him in the Falls series depicted him as something like a meteorite that hurtled down the earth, with his head embedded in the street, car and walls. Part performance art and part photography, his art, he claims, reflect the feeling of modern Chinese society and the world in general where everything seems to be in freefall.

            Li Wei was born in Hubei, China. He then relocated to Beijing to study art in the capital. Ater he graduated, Li Wei started off as an oil painter in his younger years, but finding difficulties in the acceptance of his art, he started to delve in his present art. He said he was inspired by other contemporary artists in his art as well as by traditional Chinese acrobatics. Some of Li’s works shows him as dangling dangerously outside a skyscraper’s window or standing above a streetlight. Some stills show him flying through the air. But how does he do it?

In today’s technology, one cannot trust pictures alone. That’s why part of the intrigue of the works of Li Wei is how he does them. The artist claims that his pictures are genuine and no photoshop was done. And other artists and journalists agree. In one photoshoot, he invited journalists and other artists to show them how he does his work. With the help of metal wires, mirrors, acrobatics and scaffolding and misdirection, Li tricks the viewer. For example, in a recent works where only his head was projected into urban landscape and historical landmarks, the artist claimed that he used a large mirror with a hole in the center just large enough for his head. In another work where his head was submerged in water, a crane and multiple steel wires were used to.

            As you browse through Li Wei’s works, you cannot help but feel a huge adrenaline rush as if you yourself are in the picture. With an acid sense of humor combined with large doses of irony, Li Wei’s art takes you from a very sober reality to a fantasy world where humans fly, where a woman can throw a man like paper and where one can do headstands atop a streetlight. That is the magic of the art of Li Wei. That is the true magic of art.

Artist Li wei and Mirror

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