Between Past and Future
Li Tianyuan
Li Tianyuan, Tianyuan Space Station, 12 December, 2000 (2000). For an art and science exhibition in Beijing, the painter Li Tianyuan contributed a series of unusual self-portraits. To create these tripartite works, satellites, cameras and microscopes were employed, with technological assistance provided by the Institute of Remote Sensing and the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In each triptych, the first picture was shot from a satellite 800 kilometers above the earth at a designated time; the second at ground level by an ordinary camera; and the third with a microscope that enlarges by 500 times some bodily substance—tears, for example. By putting the three pictures together, Li says, he intends to convey a sense of the frailty of human beings in the sweep of nature.
Lin Tianmiao
Li Tianyuan
Arising from a culture that has traditionally been marked by the subordination of the individual to the collective, these works all reflect the emergence of hybrid new conceptions of selfhood and personal identity in contemporary China.
Asia Society History and Memory Reimaging the Body People and Place Performing the Self International Center of Photography
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