Everyone has a unique starting point in one’s own memory. For Li Lang, it all started in 1974. His work “1974” consists of 390 slides playing in a loop, accompanied by the artist’s voice-over of 4 stories extracted from his memory of 1974, a summary of the important events of that year, and vignettes of the voice-over on the site.
As an artist who mainly works with photographic images, Li Lang has inserted his observations of history and images in the fuzzy zone between reality and fiction, as well as his reflections on the contradictions and conflicts between them. The slides in „1974“ come from vintage photographs that he collected over the years from different sources, including studio portraits, travel photos, snapshots of work and everyday life scenes, etc. After putting them into different categories, Li hand-labeled them with dates based on a fictional timeline. Thus, these vintage photographs are removed from their original contexts and become his memory metaphors which are later framed into his own narration.
Li Lang’s work reconstructs his imagination of the starting point in his memory through voice-over and vintage photos. Images and texts are no longer just traces of the past. They also explore the potential dialogue with reality in the gap between light and shadow. Li never asks the audience to accept his narrative of history. Instead, he invites us to join him as an explorer of the past.
Li Lang (b. 1969) is a visual artist, currently lives and works in Chengdu, China. Beginning his photographic career in the 1990s, Li was awarded The Special Jury Prize by Lianzhou Foto Festival in 2015 with Father and the Mother Jones Medal of Excellence in 1999 with The Yi People. Li’s work has been widely exhibited in China and abroad. His work is collected by the Art Gallery of Ontario in Canada, A4 Art Museum, Guangdong Museum of Art and Shanghai Art Museum in China, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno in Spain and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in USA.
Li has often experimented with a deliberately subjective approach in his documentary, as it highlights the photographer’s perspective of the subject or the visual language at play.