b. 1973, China
Based on found images from newspapers, magazines and film clips, Li's paintings are concerned with the portrayal of historical events and figures in the public realm, particularly those recognisable to Chinese viewers as icons of power. Thick impasto brushwork disrupts images to suggest the pixilation of digital mass media, and the original photograph's narrative is fragmented in an increasingly subjective interpretation of the truth. Li's paintings chronicle these events and how they are represented. As such they become part of a collective memory of the recent past.
In White Shirt (2007) Li has appropriated a news image of a speech made by China's president Hu Jintao as part of his re-election campaign in 2007. The text panels present extracts from the speech referring first to “the total number of members in the Communist Party of China as 73.36 million" and then below to “socialism with Chinese characteristics" – which his speech referred to as a key aspiration for the party going forward.