Li Xinmo 李心沫

Artist & Art Critic 艺术家 & 艺术批评家

Queerness and Image Writing

09: 00-09: 20 CET 29/05/2021

When we emphasize a homosexual identity, we are actually creating a discourse system in opposition to heterosexuality. This differentiation excludes other gender identities, including transgender, binary, and other identities. This perpetuates a dualistic classification of identities, which is oppressive. In contrast, queer theory pushes back against logocentrism and encompasses all sexual minorities that are excluded from mainstream social discourse. As a concept, “queer” attempts to eliminate the clear boundaries between genders, supporting the belief that a person’s sex is fluid; in other words, people can switch between different gender identities. Ultimately, queer theory aims to allow individual differences and free choice of gender identity. That is, people do not necessarily have to be heterosexual or homosexual; rather, they can change as their experience changes and they eventually become themselves.

My interest in queer theory began around 2010. Butler’s queer theory had a profound impact on me, which presented itself in my writing and art. I explored the concept of queerness in the video art and photography I created. In these works, sex is fluid, and the people who appear in the works are lesbian, gay, bisexual, androgynous, and heterosexual. The Book of Images uses performance art to evoke multiple interpretations of sex. This is a fitting example of the interpretation of the concept of “gender performance.” The images are like a photo gallery for a film — they have a narrative and yet they break the narrative. They are clips and discrete moments, they are the ephemeral fragments of multiple stories. Drifting, another work that I created, uses images to present a narrative. The combination of text and photographs depicts the fluidity of a woman’s consciousness between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships. This is also an artistic exploration of gender fluidity. The shift between different types of media coincides with the transition between different gender identities.

Li Xinmo is an artist, critic, and feminist theory researcher. She was born in Heilongjiang and graduated from Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 2008.  Li Xinmo’s works, based on a variety of media, including performance, painting, video, photography and installations, have been exhibited in Toronto Photo Biennial, Prague Biennial, National Museums of World Culture in Sweden, Female Museum in Germany. Many other art museums and galleries in France, Italy, America, Canada and Columbia have exhibited and collected her works. Her work has been documented in academic articles including the “National Fine Arts,” “Oriental Art for Everyone” and other professional art publications.