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Yifan Li ( Wuhan, China, b. 1996)
based in London

RESEARCH INTERESTS                             

New Materialism; Art of the Global South; Postcolonialism; The Anthropocene and the Ontological Turn


Master of Science in Social and Cultural Anthropology, University College London, UK                        2024 - ongoing

Master of Arts in Textiles, Royal College of Art, London, UK                                                                                  2022 - 2023

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Design, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, Beijing, China          2016 - 2020


co-Founder, Fányuàn (Art collaborative studio)                                                                                      

Mar 2021 – ongoing


The juxtaposition of 'neo-liberalism' and 'Marxism' has stimulated his reflection on the multifaceted role of public art in contemporary society, especially in the Chinese context.

As a long-time student of contemporary art practice, in the context of "the author is dead" - in the sense of Roland Barthes - Yifan is acutely aware of the importance of theory in the creation of contemporary art. The interaction between contemporary art, overseas Chinese students and leftist views in a particular field is expected to be his next topic, and how to interpret and reflect on this phenomenon with anthropology is very necessary.

His deep passion for anthropology is complemented by a rich tapestry of academic and artistic experiences that align with his research interests. Following the "actor-network theory" (ANT) of Bruno Latour (1989; 1999; 2005) and Alfred Gell (1998), it was through anthropology that he first realised the limits of humanism, i.e. that the material is not an extension existing in space in the Kantian sense, but a "diffuse subject" composed of "networks" whose own agency is not only perceived by the subject through the symbolic level, but can also act directly on the subject. These theoretical readings also make him aware that, alongside the creative process, theoretical interpretation plays an essential role in contemporary art.

In this sense, his research attempts to break away from the traditional cultural studies paradigm and critique the contemporary East Asian cultural industry and the audience's negotiation of this hegemony from a more political-economic perspective. Drawing on his academic/artistic experience, he thus to be an 'autonomous' rather than a 'self-contained' artist.


Textile Festival (London: Royal College of Art, 30 Jun - 03 Jul, 2023)

Issue13 of Al-Tiba Art Magazine May 2023

Winter Exhibition (Shenzhen: EDA Space, 31 Jan - 25 Feb, 2023)

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