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The Idol Reveal: Transcendence Portrait



  • The works from The Idol Reveal: Transcendence Portrait (2022-ongoing) are part of the project The Idol Reveal (2021-ongoing).

This series of 3D printed sculptures and videos (3D printed sculptures commissioned by Te Tuhi) explores the interplay between idol worship, symbolism, and contemporary culture. 

The sculptures and videos are inspired by the idea of projecting self-reflection through the image of celebrities/pop culture idols. Xi Li seeks to represent the imagination and spirit as images in a primitive state, reminiscent of the way primitive man named incomprehensible traumatic objects with visible anthropomorphic symbols by creating idols and tying them to symbology language for safety. 

The artist's construction of personal images inspired by celebrities she admires is not a simulation and packaging of human appearance, but rather the dismantling and imagining of symbols that give rise to an "avatar" with its own unique image and characteristics. The collision of the primitive sacredness of idol worship and the virtual is brought to life through the sculptures, the resulting sculptures embody a reverence for symbols and the primitive order of idol worship, while also possessing a sense of kitsch for the popular. 

The focus on the interconnection of the spiritual and the man-made is evident in Xi Li's practice. The works also offer a thought-provoking reflection on contemporary culture and subjectivity in it by exploring the intersection of cynical idol worship and idol culture.

Transcendence Portrait Idol I (2022)

"The essence of nature came out of the sky and the earth, and there are daytime meteors in the eyes. That mighty beam of light is gathering and shining on the fighters who are daring to the other side. He kills and decides, and he is full of love. Facing the endless boulder valley and cliffs, he gave birth to a vigorous bonfire in pain, illuminating the entire abyss. Dear warrior, are you facing a common feast with me, can you join hands with me and rush to the new era without boundaries."


-Excerpts from The Subject Exploration and Artistic Practice in Idol Worship (2022), Xi Li.

Transcendence Portrait Idol II (2022)

"He is a fateful midsummer dream, a blurry night with immortal air. He sits on the mountains, rivers and seas, leaps over the plains and forests, and swims with silent waves. He can change shape with any container, sometimes vast Boundless, deep and boundless; sometimes flying and swaying. I stood on the lake where the still water was deep and the water was flowing, and the moist aroma came to my nostrils, watching another story where dreams and reality are mysteriously intertwined."


-Excerpts from The Subject Exploration and Artistic Practice in Idol Worship (2022), Xi Li.

Transcendence Portrait Idol III(2022)

"The sacred earth with a spirit inside, exudes a dazzling brilliance in the border area. You actually contain the sun, moon, stars, rivers, land, mountains and rivers, and the bridge of all things. Growing freely in your arms is adorned with soft spring light and eternity of life, there is such a soft and fluffy life force. Whether it is a hurricane or a dazzling star, I only wish to entrust that romantic spirit to you, but I find that you have already given me all your love."


-Excerpts from The Subject Exploration and Artistic Practice in Idol Worship (2022), Xi Li.

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