Xi Li was born and raised in Suzhou, China in 1995, and is currently based in California. After graduating from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a background in design, Xi moved to the West Coast, working with multi-media, photography, collage and installation in a practice that centers on scenes of ordinary life and the process of perception. Her work contemplates the boundaries of photography and narrative. Her latest photographic series and first photo book, “Traces of Invisibilities,” was exhibited at Bungee Project, NYC earlier in July 2019.
Traces of Invisibilities
Traces of Invisibilities is a photographic series that documents traces of lived-in moments in scenes with their contextual surroundings without people. How perception is colored by conventionality, contradiction, and the mundane within the existence of these objects is examined in this series. I study multiple kinds of narratives photographed in common institutional environments while others are seemingly tacit moments occurring from a distant perspective without narrative.
I often find myself immersed in such an environment, one where every object in a setting rests without the presence of people. Yet, there are traces of tangible and intangible evidence, both of which sparked my interest, that are left behind and unfold in this photographic series. People and their intents shape the spaces they dominate, and yet, when they are absent, I am still able to envision the interactions between people and their tools, objects, and so forth. I gravitate towards the intangible moments appearing in front of me, regardless of if a clear narrative is immediately present. In this work, each set is as an impromptu study – one where I could indulge myself in endless questioning about the invisibilities that flow within images. “What practice takes place in such a space?” “How do the invisible, intangible moments and tangible, visible space and objects interact and form with each other over time?” I could not prevent myself from pondering – guessing what lies in the past and what would be the imminent future of each scene. Upon closer examination, the invisible can become traceable. As the viewer, I can imagine and collect mental snapshots of the activities that happened minutes ago, days ago, weeks later, or even years after. After this analysis, even if I do not have the exact answers to my questions, I’m deeply convinced that these lived moments unfold slowly over time, how they have simultaneously occurring narratives, and are inclined to elapse and intertwine.
To view more of Xi Li’s work please visit her website.