Yushi Li is a Chinese artist based in London, working primarily in photography. She received her MA in Photography recently and is doing her PhD in Arts & Humanities at the Royal College of Art. Her work mainly engages with the question of the gaze in relation to gender, desire and sexuality, culminating in the investigation of the male representation as an erotic subject in light of digital social networks. Her most recent exhibitions include Unseen, Amsterdam and Fotografiska, Stockholm 2021.
By looking back at certain classical paintings in art history, Yushi Li tries to reflect on these representations of the staging of eroticism to make a contemporary portrayal of the desired body. Her desire, dreams and love for the desired body are illustrated in a photographic form, using animals and fantastic settings to imply the unconscious dimension of these scenes. Through taking an active rather than passive role in her work, instead of simply reversing the gender roles, Li tries to question and challenge the dyadic representations of active men and passive women that has been broadly embedded in art history. Across old paintings, dreams and love, we drift between the conscious and the unconscious, approaching a new form of theatre of sexuality and spectatorship.