In the countryside of China, land is a heavy issue. Each plot of land has its own destiny and character, and behind it is the people’s destiny. In 1999, when my father passed away in an accident, the land that he had cultivated was handed down to me. I was at a loss, and avoided returning to my hometown, ashamed to face the reality. But the problem was not solved because of my detachment, and my sense of identity gradually disappeared.
In 2014, I decided to use one of the plots of land to produce a work, to re-examine my relationship to my birthplace, which felt both strange and amiable. Finally, I made my peace through the fatigue that came from the constant falls into the field and the mud.
The name of the work, Freedom Farming, comes from the land certificate issued by the village committee, and from the sense of salvation that came from the performative act itself. Freedom Farming is a work about the dialogue between me and my father, and my present reality. I attempt to find a balance between the three, or save some things that are already lost through this behavior; also I want to confirm my sense of identity, of belonging, via this path. As for me, every jump of mine is a departure, and each fall is a return. Regardless of each departure or return, there’s always something missing.
Born in 1985 in Yunzhou, Hunan, China and lives and works in Beijing. He graduated from the Sculpture Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2011. Many of Li’s works are improvisations that can be carried out in daily life without an exhibition gallery or an audience. It is exactly these fragmented individual actions that distinguished his work from the traditional common experience and make up the unique values in his expressions. His works are exhibited in many important institutions including MoMA PS1, Groninger Museum (The Netherlands), Museum of Old and New Art (Tasmania) and others.