Chinese-born, London-based photographer Yushi Li's photographs are said to work towards "provoking" and offering alternatives to the binary of male and female. They do this largely by disrupting the idea of the gaze (and as such, the "male" or "female" gaze) by showing not just new ways of looking at a subject but new ways in which they're looked at.
It's hard to decipher who is doing the posing – photographer, persona within the photograph, or perhaps a surreal mixture of the two.
Li's work has recently been presented alongside Alix Marie's, a multi-disciplinary French artist based in London, who creates art around similar concerns. Their works build on German feminist photographer, author and self-healer Marianne Wex's encyclopaedic project Let's Take Back Our Space: 'Female' and 'Male' Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures.
Yushi Li and Alix Marie's work is going on show in the form of the joint exhibition curated by Brenna Horrox, called Postures & Posers, which runs from 13-30 May 2021 at London's Filet Gallery. Horox is co-director of Hi-Noon, a global, grassroots enterprise that aims to "support, enable and sustain artistic practice".
For the exhibition, Yushi Li's new series The Feast will be on show, and other works from her Artist Portrait series (2019) and her image, The Nightmare, also 2019. "In these photographs Yushi Li positions herself in front of, next to and on top of the male bodies posing and posturing at her will," says Hi-Noon. "The composed scenes push the narrative of sexual politics from gender roles in art history to selfies in the social media age....Yushi Li appropriates the authority of art-history to highlight constructs at play..."
Li was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2018 and is one of the 100 Royal Photography Society Hundred Heroines. Their work has been presented around the world, including at solo shows in London and Malmo.