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02nd Jul - 04th Sep

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is Mystery – Dinu Li

A solo show by Dinu Li featuring past and recent works, plus a work from a new commission for QUAD

Dinu Li is a UK based artist born in Hong Kong and living in Manchester. He works with photography and the moving image. This exhibition highlighted the passing of time by drawing together China’s expanding industrial present and the traditions of its cultural past.

Informed by cinematic traditions, Li’s productions are situated between documented facts, oral histories, chance observations and the figments of imagination.  Motion and sound is manipulated – prolonged, reduced or distilled – often interlaced to explore a poetic and emotionally moving concept of space and time.

Li’s exhibition illuminated his continuous research into the structures defining contemporary China’s cultural development. Through a range of mediums; video, animation and performance – Li’s productions tease out the broader readings of a contemporary society seemingly nebulous to its politically turbulent past, and to its current status as a force of ceaseless expansion and consumption.

Oscillating between risk and defiance, rationality and absurdity, Li’s new commission ‘Crescendo (2010)’ is a performance-based video, dealing with the uneasy tension between state-funded propaganda and self-initiated protests. Sharing the title with his solo exhibition, Li’s series of colour photographs ‘Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is Mystery (2010)’ alludes to a society redefining its aspirations, as it literally ‘paints the town red.’ Preceding these new works, ‘Family Village (2009)’ is a video installation meandering through a world of assembled dreams and a utopian ideal.

Throughout this exhibition, Li drew upon a rich archive of materials including films, drawings, family snapshots, old postcards, and propaganda imagery, to reconstruct a complex world of fantastical imagination, against the backdrop of a historical and political epoch of time.

Exhibition curated in QUAD by Louise Clements and Alfredo Cramerotti.

A fully illustrated publication Dinu Li: Selected Works 2009 – 2010, was commissioned by QUAD and was launched during the course of the exhibition. Designed with a DVD showreel, the publication includes new texts by Dr Katie Hill, Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies, University of Westminster, London; and Carol Yinghua Lu, the Beijing based art critic and curator. Dinu Li is an ArtSway Associate and this publication is part funded by the ArtSway Associates programme.

Image Credit: N/A


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