Behind the Scenes of Li Wei's Stunning, Gravity-Defying Photographs

The Chinese artist directs elaborate stunts for unforgettable images in this profile by The Creators Project. 

It looks like Li Wei has some new tricks up his sleeve. The mysterious Chinese creator specializes in confusing performance art photography, recording physically challenging productions — not just relying on Photoshop, as many artists do, but by recreating conceptual stunts using bodily strength and painstaking detail. “I know having a concept is not enough,” Wei admits. “You have to pay attention to detail,” he says in our Creator profile, below. 

Wei’s just unveiled some new works on his website, and they certainly don’t disappoint. But this time, instead of stepping in front of the lens in every shot, Wei’s chosen to focus on the scenery. 

Buddha takes the spiritual icon to new heights, propelling a praying figure up above the mountains in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Billowing plumes of scarlet smoke turn a passive icon into a commanding power.

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He continues to exploit the breathtaking backdrop of St. Moritz, showcasing a great pair of gams aiming skyward in V-Space–St. Moritz. This disembodied lower half, like the Buddha we saw above, conveys strength and power through Wei’s new view.

Our favorite is this ironic image, St. Moritz 2011.08.23, featuring a devoted-looking monk surfing the St. Moritz waters as serenely as the picturesque town behind him. If only he was pictured walking on water.

Wei steps back in front of the camera to recreate Noah’s Ark. A woman, two children and a raft-load of stuffed animals help to complete this modern-day representation of the Biblical tale.

Like a true magician, Wei never reveals his secrets to his stupefied audience, preferring to let us wonder and let his images speak for themselves. “There’s an important point between reality and fantasy,” Wei says. “I’m trying to find that point in my art.”

Written by Lauren Leibowitz for The Creators Project.  This post also appears on The Creators Project, an Atlantic partner site. 

The Creators Project, a partnership between Intel and VICE, supports artists across a range of disciplines who are using technology in innovative ways to push the boundaries of creative expression. More


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