Li Wei is a Beijing-based performance artist who has been wowing viewers with his gravity-defying images for the past 11 years. His latest series 'The Lightness of Being' is currently being displayed at the Lucca Photo Fest in Italy, a festival he is currating and showcasing not only his own work but also that of other international photographers such as Kenro Izu, Lin Tianmiao and Felice Beato.
Wei's work is always based on hopeful imagining of weightless possibilities where there is an absence of gravity and seemingly danger only, this is not always the case as Li Wei only uses Photoshop to remove a wire or thin rope holding his subject, the rest is all real and constructed with cranes, mirrors and scaffolding. There is a light-hearted humour to Wei's work and he insists 'this is performance rather than photography.
When asked about his production techniques for the photographs, Wei states that he first comes up with the idea and draws extensive sketches of it. The planning stage can take several months whereas the shoot itself only takes 2 to 3 hours. He has his own photographer, who he has been collaborating with for 10 years and also his own technical team.
With photos often showing Wei catapulting to and from earth, it's not surprising that Wei has had a few near-misses over the years, he states and 'Lei Wei Falls Into series (a collection of images showing the artist with his head and chest buried in the ground) was the most dangerous and he often had to plunge into glass, almost cutting his head off on one occasion.
Li Wei has had his work published in magazines such as Dazed & Confused, Wallpaper, Flash Art, Work, Magazin-Frankfurter Rundschau, Out of the Red, Zoom, Juliet, Contemporary, Theater Forum, NY Arts, Fine Arts Literature, Lapiz and Arte Al Limite.
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