Li Jinghu at "lei-pā", ST PAUL St Gallery, NZ


Curators: Lana Lopesi & Ahilapalapa Rands

Exhibition dates: August 4 - September 8 2017

Location: ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

Li Jinghu's video installation Today's Screening (2014-2016) is now presented at "lei-pā" (August 4 - September 8, 2017), ST PAUL St Gallery, New Zealand.



About the work

Reflecting an ongoing interest in the fugitiveimprints of labor and life, the exhibition includes the installation ‘Today’s Screening’ - a re-staging of video halls that once litteredstreets nearby factories. A popular nighttime activity for factory workers, thesetting of the video hall is distilled into its most basic components: thesoundtrack and projected image. Mass-produced plastic crystals – a source oflivelihood and at once an incongruous presence in this city – cover theprojection film-screen, abstracting a continuous circularity of images into arefracted dazzle of darkness and light. With this sleight of hand, asocial moment transforms into a spectral image, as projection becomes theperforming act.



About the exhibition

Food is inherently political: who it represents, how it’s shared and how it’s produced. Across Moana-nui-a-kiwa, plantations of copra, cacao, sugar, pineapple and vanilla have been the basis of multiple waves of migrant and slave labour trades, including colonial empires turning to Asia as a labour force.


While the connection of indigenous communities and Asian labour migrants initially came through colonial plantations, long-lasting relationships formed outside of this imperial canon. International attitudes towards indentured labour changed at the start of the 20th Century and indentured labour ceased in Fiji in 1920, and 1931 in Samoa and Hawaii. Fiji and Samoa went on to gain independence toward the end of the century while Hawaii still remains a colony of America. Many labourers returned to their various homelands across Asia while a significant number decided to settle in the islands long term.


For lei-pā, we focus on food as a signifier of such relationships. In both Hawaii and Samoa staple diets changed through the introduction of new Asian food technologies, such as noodles, rice and pastry. Foods such as sapasui, keke pua’a and masubi borrow from these new technologies, becoming local delicacies. Moreover, these highlight the power indigenous people have to adopt and adapt new food in their own diets, a sovereignty which doesn’t always exist in colonised lands across this vast ocean.

The plantation is a site where we not only cultivate crops but also trauma, resilience and hybridity. Through a variety of artistic approaches, lei-pā uses food and labour to open up conversations of cultural exchange across Moana-nui-a-kiwa. Through shared traumas of sorts, we can bypass the empire and talk directly to each other as we have been doing for thousands of years.

About Li Jinghu

Born in 1972 in Dongguan, Guangdong, where he currently lives and works.

Major solo exhibitions include: Time is Money, Magician Space, Beijing, CN (2014); Efficiency is Life, Magician Space, Beijing, CN (2014); Gie, Yangtze River Space, Wuhan, CN (2011); Snowman, Arrow Factory, Beijing, CN (2010); Li Jinghu: Forest, Observation Society, Guangzhou, CN (2009); Li Jinghu: One Day in Dongguan, J&Z Gallery, Shenzhen, CN (2009); No Problem, Shenzhen Sculpture Academy, Shenzhen, CN (2006)

Important group exhibitions include: Among Friends, Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing, CN (2017); 1st Yinchuan Biennale, MOCA Yinchuan, Yinchuan, CN (2016); 11th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, KR (2016); A Beautiful Disorder, Cass Sculpture Foundation, West Sussex, UK (2016); There Has Been, And May Be Again, Pare Site, Hong Kong, CN (2016); This Future of Ours, Red Brick ArtMuseum, Beijing, CN (2016); THERMO MATTER, Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, CN (2015); The System of Objects, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, CN (2015); Institution Production – Ecology Investigation of Contemporary Art of Young Guangzhou Artists, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, CN (2015); You Can Only Think about Something if You Think of Something Else, Times Museum, Guangzhou, CN (2014); Positive Space, Times Museum, Guangzhou, CN (2014); PAINT (erly), BANK, Shanghai, CN (2013); Daily of concept: A Practice of Life - The 15th Shanghai Duolun Youth Art Exhibition, Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, CN (2012); Pulse Reaction - An Exchange Project on Art Practice, Times Museum, Guangzhou, CN (2012)