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Shiyi Li |

Shiyi Li’s work encompasses collaborative performances including contemporary jazz music, multi-screen animation projections, digital media and a live art performance. The work tells the story of a Chinese woman having recently migrated to a Western country, exploring the awakenings brought to her through her experience of entering a new space and location. 


Artist Spotlight

In the 2018-2019 season, Shiyi and Gloria’s first collaboration ‘Minister of Loneliness,’ garnered international acclaim in both the contemporary art and music industries, includes Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne 2019 (France), Coventry Biennale of Contemporary Art 2019 (The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, UK), PGVIM 2019 International Symposium (Bangkok, Thailand) and Strength & Sensitivity: Chicago (Hairpin Arts Center, Chicago, USA). 

‘Minister of Loneliness’ is a 15-minute live performance, music composed by America musician Gloria Yehilevsky and visual created by Chinese artist Shiyi Li. It includes live cross-genre music, live camera animation, multi-screen projections, and combining prepared and live art forms into immersive live performances. The concept of creating a work of art which communicated psychological hardships we shared since having emigrated into new cultures. ‘Minister’ began with a narrative, a non-musical, non-artistic concept, but a shared emotional experience. Collaborators included Aisling Reilly on double bass, Dingli Yang contributing live collage, Mengxia Liu with live illustration, and Andrew Woolcock playing percussion.

Minister of Loneliness (full version) from Shiyi Li on Vimeo.

If ‘Minister’ is a monologue of loneliness, ‘Dreamerfly’ is the prose of rebirth. Shiyi’s practice always focuses on cross-media performance, cultural differences and contemporary female's response to the social environment. This year, Shiyi and composer James Owston will bring new attempts into live performance.

(Dreamerfly, Shiyi Li,)

‘Dreamerfly,and other stories’ is an immersive 45-minute expanded and experimental live performance combining multi-screen animation, overhead projector, small handcraft scientific installation and contemporary jazz music. It will be developed and presented by visual artist Shiyi Li, British jazz musicians James Owston and Daniel Kemshell and American percussionists Lindsey Eastham and Gloria Yehilevsky. ‘Dreamerfly’ inspired by a Chinese philosophy--‘The Butterfly Dream’, which is a discussion about reality and nothingness, a discussion of existence. The story began as a dream between a woman and a moth, this narrative is interjected by three smaller stories that seek to find balance from chaos. Visually, with animation of a non-linear narrative that mixes the storyline with smaller narratives.

The work is in five sections: struggle, loss, loneliness, searching for balance and longing for rebirth. Musically, this concept will be achieved by juxtaposing controlled compositions with free improvisation. As a live performance, ‘Dreamerfly’ wants to bring a new experience by breaking the boundaries of different dimensions and playing with various senses. We hope the audience will relate to the performance through their own perspectives. People who want to understand themselves and their emotions, but are conflicted and struggling, will find value in this performance. We aim to bring comfort and hope to people who deal with the themes we address.