Liu Di (柳迪, b. 1985 Shanxi Province, China) is one of China’s leading young conceptual photographers.
He graduated with honors from Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Master’s Degree program in the Photography Department. Shortly thereafter, his photo works were exhibited at the Musée de Elysée in Lausanne in their “reGeneration2” international young photographers’ group exhibition, (and this exhibition traveled to Aperture, NYC, and to Miami, Beijing, and other venues around the world). That year, 2010, Liu Di won the 1st prize given by sponsor Lacoste and the Musée de Elysée, among some 80 young photographers from around the globe.
Liu Di is representative of a new generation of artists working with photography who imaginatively – and radically – perceive their society. The new work, (video and photography, and recently exhibited in Beijing and Hong Kong as well as Chongqing’s International New Media Festival), is a continuation of Liu Di’s “Animal Regulation” series.
Liu Di’s work with 3D digital video and related techniques focuses on themes long pursued in his photo works; namely, critiquing the conflicting relationship between nature and human society. Abnormal growth underlies Liu Di’s work, as inevitable byproduct of hyper-fast economies fuelled by widespread urbanization.
With subtle humour and science fiction-like stylizing, the artist still manages to pay homage to traditional landscape photography and nature photography. His subjects “pose” in peculiar visions of a sci-fi-meets-magical-realism world where nothing and no one is entirely normal or healthy. Weirdly cute in their otherworldly and distorted forms, animals and humans float in an unreal realm, amidst familiar urban landscapes, filled with monumental buildings, public housing, run-down courtyards,
bath houses, and parks of the imagination.
The artist argues, “We wake up and regain alertness only after stereotypes break down”. “The appearance of huge animals points to the unreliability of common sense, showing the flaws in how we perceive the world.” “With a new awareness of our incomplete understanding of objective reality, we begin to doubt the narrow and limited subjective world. Only at this moment can we get closer to what is real and perceive the more lasting and valuable things beyond the trivialities of daily life.”
Images and text courtesy of Pékin Fine Arts
Also published on Medium.