I’ve been trying to think of something profound enough to say about Li Wei’s fantastic images. I imagine his unique disembodied head and embedded head images, especially given the particularly Chinese locations, work as a metaphor for changing China. Wei himself says “The brain is the geography of the person. It is the home.” Li Wei’s work definitely walks that line between performance art and photography; he, like Andy Goldsworthy, sees his work first as a performance. I think all photography has a performative aspect - but in both these cases the artists rely on the permanent image to give audience to their work.
Li Wei lives in Beijing and represents the second generation, of performance artists working in China. He began his career in the late 1990s, and is most well known for his Mirror 2000 series, which includes over 40 site-specific performance pieces. Using a large mirror, three feet square, with a hole in the center large enough to accommodate his head and neck, Li places his head through the hole and “projects” his image onto various historical and urban environments.