Ao Li

Artist Statement

Everything I have seen and experienced influences and shapes my body of work. Some of my life experiences have been dramatic and painful. I value these experiences and incorporate them into my art. Last year, for example, my living conditions in my home in Shenzhen, China changed drastically. My home became someone else’s home when renters moved into my space.

The saying, ‘not until you lose it will you cherish it’, has become real to me this year. As an international student who had not gone home for a whole year, my memories of home became vague. I urgently yearned to go home, but I could not. Jealous feelings towards the tenants living in my house started to grow within my heart and soul. Mentally I began to use my artistic tools to stop the tenants from making my space their home.

I create personal spaces and wrap miniature furniture in an effort to mentally prevent the tenant from using the furniture. I draw and write in a diary to document my existence, then create sculptures based on these personal experiences. I discovered, during construction, the process brought a sense of comfort to me. Strong feelings of anger and sadness abated. I have come to regard the chairs as a representation of home, offering me warmth, space, and love.