Lí Wei Another One
Chinese artist Lí Wei makes giant cake of the Mariupol Theatre to share with Antwerp based Ukranians on the one year mark of the russian airstrike.
On the 16th of March 2022, exactly one year ago, Russia committed one of the most horrific war crimes of its full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. Russian military forces launched an airstrike on the heart of besieged Mariupol — Mariupol theatre. In the first three weeks of the invasion, the building of the theatre was turned into a major shelter for people from all over the city. For the locals, it had become the safe space, the point of access to information, the place to get food and to stay overnight. This was also the assembly point for the people seeking evacuation from the city. At its peak, up to 1,600 people found shelter in the theatre. According to various estimates, between 100 to 600 people lost their lives due to the Russian attack. The destroyed Mariupol theatre became a tragic symbol of solidarity, mutual support, and self-organization.
One week ago, the Chinese born artist Lí Wei arrived in Antwerp. Originally the artist was planning to spend 3 nights in Antwerp before travelling through to Paris. However, after one night Lí Wei decided to stay in Antwerp and make an instant project. On March 16, one year after the brutal attack on the Mariupol Theatre, the artist is organising an unannounced commemoration event at the gallery, inviting local Ukrainian friends and their friends. For the event, a giant cake depicting the Mariupol Theatre and it’s surroundings was baked, and guests will be served by the artist.
After the event, the artist will work on a series of sculptures in the gallery space. The artist is inviting some of his new Antwerp local Ukrainian friends for llive sitting session, and exchanging thoughts and stories while sculpting. The final sculptures will be presented at the gallery from April 13 till 16.
Lí Wei is a daily follower of the numerous instgram accounts used by the Ukraine soldiers at the frontline. As a chinese citizen, the artist became very suspicious of state media, and prefers to try to understand the situation this way. In a similar way, the images of the cake performance remind of videos of dancing Ukranian forces at the battle front. These videos are absurd in nature, but they keep the ungoing war in the attention of the international community, at least for a little longer.
The works of Lí Wei have been exhibited widely across the world, with solo exhibitions including Hearsay & Spring, Villa Sträuli, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2017; Cellar and Garret, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, NY, 2017; Secure for Now, Travelling exhibition: Studio 9 & X Gallery, Hong Kong; F2 Gallery, Paris, France; Primo Marella Gallery, ARTISSIMA, Turin, Italy, 2016; Still Nobody Cares, A2Z Art Gallery, Paris, France, 2015; Nobody Cares, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2015; Peace, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy, 2014; Thank God, Gallery Yang, Beijing, China, 2013; Hero, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2011.
Mariupol Theatre Cake performance: Thursday March 16, 2023
Falcon plein 32, 2000 Antwerp 17u
Exhibition: Lí Wei: One, Another One: April 13 – 16, 2023
Falcon plein 32, 2000 Antwerp