Li Yongbin Face V 1999-2001

Li Yongbin
Face V 1999–2001
Video installation
© Li Yongbin

Li Yongbin belongs to the first generation of artistic innovators of the post-Mao era. Self taught, he gave up painting in the late 1990s to work exclusively with video. Using the barest of means and the simplest of techniques, he creates work of great, and often disturbing, power. Often using his own face, or simple shadows, duration and repetition introduce a strongly psychological dimension to his work.

Face V takes the form of an installation, and like most of his work, appears to relate directly to a powerful memory or experience from childhood. We are given a moment of fear and uncertainty provoked by the approach of an unfamiliar shadow at the window of a child’s bedroom. It shares, with all of Li Yongbin’s work, a psychological sense of menace and dread, articulated with the minimum of means, as powerful as it is inexplicable.