LI TINGWEI. La Navigation Enchantée (2019)

“馋 / La Navigation Enchantée” recalls November 24, 1999 when a ferry sunk in the Yellow Sea off the coast of China, killing more than 300 passengers. Just a short way into the journey from Yantai, China’s port city near Korea, a fire broke out on board. Although the exact cause is unknown, many believe that the gas tank on a vehicle the ship was carrying may have ruptured. Even most of those who made it to the lifeboats ended up freezing to death as they waited for rescue ships. For all this years it was believed that navigating in this region is dangerous and the seacoast received a nickname 馋 /chán/, meaning “greedy”. In 2019 Tingwei Li, originating from Yantai, took the same route, taking on board the lost family members, who have been living in her sketchbook ever since.

Just as one shifts the blame for one’s negligence, Tingwei Li introduces seagulls as the potential cause of the catastrophe. Alfred Hitchcock in his “The Birds” spoke also about the human complacency. Just like a main character, Melanie, thinks that she has everything under control, one comes into fear and despair with the bird retaliation attacks. Dave Kehr, film critic and curator of film department at the MOMA, saw the similarity in the both artworks “The Birds” and “Moby Dick”: “As the personification of sexual dissatisfaction, divine retribution, chaotic nonsense, metaphysical inversion and whining feelings of guilt - the image of birds created by Hitchcock in multi-layered and dynamic meanings does not yield to Moby Dick Melville.”



LI TINGWEI (*1989) is a young emerging artist, residing both in Berlin and Shanghai. She studied at Arts University (UdK) in Berlin, at Hunter College in New York and Tongji University in Shanghai. She was a residential artist at Pro Helvetia (Swiss Arts Council) in 2020 and was listed in Forbes “30 Under 30 China” in 2017. Prior to that Tingwei participated in residency programs at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, Flux Factory in New York and Kooshk Residency in Iran.

2011 - 2017 Fine Arts, Absolventin & Meisterschülerin, Berlin University of the Arts. Berlin, Germany
2014- 2015 MFA program in Art Department, Hunter College of The City University of New York. NYC, USA 
2008 - 2010 Major in Photography and German, Tongji University. Shanghai, China

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