Jiaqi Li




#capital #commerce #culturaloutput #visualexperience



*******Studio Practices*******


Sam's Law 2024

Acrylic on linen.

“Three Laws of Love”

① Love must respect the other’s feelings, and shall not cause emotional harm, or allow the other to suffer emotional harm through indifference.

② Love must follow the will of the other, provided that such will does not conflict with the First Law.

③ Love must maintain its own independence and self-worth, provided that this does not conflict with the First and Second Law.



PSST 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Jack & Rose 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Play 2024

Acrylic on linen.





(Solo exhibition view: AMBULANCIAGA, Studio Gallery 工作室画廊, Shanghai)


My first impression of Li Jiaqi's recent paintings was a touch of suddenly hearing a very popular old song. It makes you unconsciously hum but cannot distinguish whether I am moved by the lyrics or the melody of the music, just suddenly many of the thoughts will appear in your mind.

I think it may be because the years of parallel experience in creating ready-made sculptures have given painting a different meaning for Li compared to many other painters. Painting, as a material, has never existed independently in his hands. The struggle between concepts and painting is an essential aspect of Li Jiaqi's works. Clearly, in his latest series of works, the artist has decided to give more agency to the images and compositions, creating a theatrical sense in the paintings that resemble movies more. Concepts participate in a more intuitive, sensory way, supporting and enriching the conveyance of information in the paintings, forming a unique "Li Jiaqi" style of humorous texture.

—— Studio Gallery

Key Worlds:

[Screen Images] Screen Images include the Hulk, princesses, princes, Sodoma, Smith, Neo, and more. Their appearances often evoke my fascination with truth and falsehood. They are performed, maintaining a perfect appearance in artificially constructed settings, and even possess perfect (or extreme) souls. They are distant from the real world, which in turn exudes a kind of magic. Moreover, screen images carry symbolic attributes. Symbols are formed by consensus. In reverse, symbols allow personal interpretation, meaning that I can connect with people more broadly. This is one of the reasons why I am addicted to symbols.

[Classic Brands] In addition to their symbolic nature, brands carry consumerist notions. Consumerism advocates distance and perfection, distinguishing it from the real world. Each class has the luxury goods pursued by each class, and even if a successful class ascent is achieved, it is difficult to exhaust them.

[A-ha Moments] Sometimes, a friend's words lead me to make decisions about arranging images. I also try to adjust my workflow to be relaxed and natural. The goal of the materials’ combination may be creating a bubble representing fantasy, a carrot hanging in front of a donkey, driving it to run continuously, or a flame attracting moths. These are things that most people are told to desire, about perfection, beauty, success, and love.

—— Li Jiaqi



T-00:00:00 2024

Acrylic on linen.



DEC/31/9999 2024

Acrylic on linen.




Acrylic on linen.



Don't Fall 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Weeping For Love 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Sodoma 2024

Acrylic on linen.




Light Energy 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Mockup TV 2024

Acrylic on linen.

As a response and revolve from a previous project (Our TV, Your Success), Li thinks about TV's situstion nowdays. He played with the concept of mockups in the field of graphic design, and used his iconic glowing light to demonstrate an empty luxury house. It is his question about how people take in all of the information and locate themselves in the sea of digital devices.



1 New Message 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Hop in Princess 2024

Acrylic on linen.





Acrylic on linen.



SMITH (NEO) 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Romeo & Juliet 2024

Acrylic on linen.

With money you can buy a Romeo, but you cannot buy Juliet.



Be A Sugar Baby 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Enemy No Need Being Seen 2024

Acrylic on linen.

As a child I played flight simulation game. Players used radar to target enemies from afar and fired missiles to eliminate them. Erasing an enemy does not require witnessing it with one's own eyes.



Neo 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Damien Hirst’s Art Gatling Gun 2024

Acrylic on linen.



Xu Zhen's Passion❤️‍🔥 Glowing at Night 2024

Acrylic on linen.





Acrylic on linen.

















(Solo exhibition view: 🔘Brightness🔘Saturation🔘Glossiness, Double Double Gallery 協力空间 (798))

数字关系(Digital Relationship) 2023

Acrylic on linen, blue/gold/violet-green interference srufaces

“One of Jiaqi Li’s focus is the surface of things. He looks back on his past life experiences, exams the current lifestyle, and critics the functions of electronic devices and the logical relationships behind. The "Digital Relations" series is a series of paintings that are based on the composition of telephone dials. In modern life, our relationships are sharp, fragile, flashy, cheap, and ethereal.”

Jiaqi Li provides his interpretation of the human spirit, survival state, and relationships in modern society through his artwork. Using strong and metaphorical visual forms, he constructs concepts such as numbers, relationships, and materials, creating contextualized contemporary landscapes. Through his paintings, Jiaqi critiques people's relationships in the information age, utilizing the familiar twelve-digit dial keys that are commonly used worldwide. The characters in his paintings, which represent relationships, serve as a recurring motif, as he delves into the spiritual realm of human existence.

The role of social ideology in art is pivotal, and artists have the power to affirm, refute, or question it through their works. In Jiaqi Li's case, he is drawn to themes such as television and Hollywood, and explores the coupling of digital lifestyle, information transmission, social relations, and privacy security in today's era through the dialing buttons. Electronic products and digital images have always been prominent subjects of Jiaqi's artistic concern. Beneath the surface of this artwork, lies the deep-seated issues of capital, culture, and class, concealed like an iceberg. In his series titled Digital Relationships, Jiaqi cleverly embeds metaphors in his paintings, inviting deeper interpretations.

A notable element in Jiaqi's work is the use of characters, particularly Arabic numerals 1 to 0, which serve as a medium of interpersonal communication and act as the gateway to the digital world. In this series, Jiaqi employs airbrushes and acrylics as his painting tools for the first time in the past two years. He uses bright colors and applies a unique texture reminiscent of crystal clear capsules or glass beads, accompanied by symbolic shining star glares. This gives the buttons a seemingly ordinary appearance, yet imbues them with a cosmic gem-like quality. The appearance of objects has always been a concern in Jiaqi's artwork, reflecting his contemplation of people's relationships and ideologies. He portrays the relationships between people as sharp, fragile, flashy, cheap, and ethereal, in a world increasingly filled with screens, plastic boxes, generated images, and electronic sound waves. Through his paintings, Jiaqi prompts us to reexamine the digital relationships we are entangled in on a daily basis.

Artical: Wenru Xu, Baowen He



Day Off In Virtua City 2022

Oil on linen.



Dead-end 2022

Oil on linen.




Hollywood Series 2022

Oil on canvas.





(Solo exhibition view: Our TV, Your Success, @hā Art Space, Changsha)


Oil on stainless steel.

Televisions are one of the most wanted electronic commodities and have become a symbol of success and high-quality life. Paintings can capture a strange but fascinating feeling of cultural grafting when words on TV boxes have been translated and contextualized.



TV Fighter 2021

A combination of footage showing people taking TVs out of the mall and images of the TVs’ official webpages.




Our TV Boxes 2021

Oil on canvas.



Our Television, Your Success 2020

Excerpt of 2'26'' edited commercial ads with voiceover.



Your Success 2020


Our Television, Your Success 2020-2021

The media is never objective and neutral. The media is controlled by power dynamics, both political and economic. With the gradual development of the Internet, although smartphones and computers have become more and more important media carriers, TVs are still the most ubiquitous media icons. Unlike smart devices, televisions usually receive signals passively. This feature implies the presence of power, and specifically media’s discursive power, and capacity to speak downward (to the ordinary people).

The obsession with television as an icon might sound like a fashion from ten or twenty years ago. As a family entertainment center, the TV has traditionally been placed in the most conspicuous position in the living room of each household, where everyone can gather and watch and listen to it together. The television has become the essential product to buy in our homes; its functions and features, which are positively related to price differences, have become the only things we attribute value to and compete over. TV manufacturers create advertisements for their products as if they are promoting a luxury item. In advertisements, they put the television in the mountains and by lakes as backdrops, while the screens display the image of the very same natural landscape. Although none of us buy a TV in order to watch the mountains and lakes, this makes us feel as if we are buying a product with such an excellent performance, that we can escape from our own overly urban and confining social reality.

In June 2020 many shopping malls were broken into, across the United States. People dragged large TVs (over 50 inches) that were too heavy for one person to carry, out of the malls, still in their package boxes. The prices of these TV sets range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. At that time, the television, or even just the box containing it, has completely transformed into a symbol of a better life.

Having a TV, however, in my view, does not mean a better life. Televisions and what they expose us to are in fact the result and the cause oftentimes of our suffering, poverty, class divisions, envy, violence, etc. Yet the need for TV reflected and anchored people’s anger and their sense of incompetence against class consolidation and social injustice, postmodern grief.

“Our Television, Your Success” is a body of work that includes installation, video work, and oil paintings. TV, the common element between the various works, illustrates the simulation, the delivery, and the consumption of a stereotype of success. The combination of the footage of people taking TVs out of the mall with the images of TV brands’ official web pages creates irony through juxtaposing violence and price tag. The oil paintings that depict TV packaging, refer to the above-mentioned symbolization of a better life. The original boxes were treated as symbols, that is, they were designed to depict televisions as close to reality as possible, and put them back on the easel. In this body of work, I explore the contradiction between utopian imagery and the trauma of reality.




2 In 1 2020



Fixing Chicago Neighborhood 2020

"The Chicago neighborhood as a public space is less cared for than private areas. Can we take part in the modification and repair of public space, and use tricks that are commonly used in commercial space to cover up some defects or unattractiveness temporarily?"



Untitled (Package Boxes) 2019

The work Untitled(Package Boxes) is a continuation of the artist’s previous work New Nature. This time, the artist attempt to play with the inside and outside of daily artifacts objects other than natural beings. Photos on well-designed boxes often “bring” the food out of the box. At the same time, they keep the food at its best-looking stage.



New Nature 2019

The artist explores the peelable relationship between the exterior and the interior of things. For artifacts, especially industrial products, stickers/colors and models/structures are designed dividually, while the outside and the inside initially grow together for organic matters. Because of the human sensory system, the internal and the external of things can be understood independently. The paper poles are light and weightless, which ignore the original shape of the object; therefore, vision and tactile sensation are separated. The artist uses a photo of an organic substance (caterpillar, chicken skin, leaves, feathers, etc.) that capture its texture details on each paper pole and create a new pattern by copy and paste. Paper poles are made by hand and have relatively natural shapes. But the pattern on its surface is extremely mechanical and repetitive that breaks the fundamental rules of growing.



Pole No.7 2018



One Same Thing Series No.1 2018

"Overall views and thinkings. One gesture from Prince William with different meanings from different angles."





Camouflage 2018

"Camouflage clothing is designed to hide and survive in the wild. But indoor environments are not safe at all (e.g. One died and 12 injured, violent incident happened in a shopping mall in Beijing). Going back to the mall, extract the colors of my surroundings and print them in camouflage to reduce attention and protect myself."



Untitled (Video Call) 2017

"My partner and I were staying in two cities that have 8-hour time difference. We made a video call, in which we use printed backdrops to pretend that we were in the place of the other."




(Exhibition scene, A Crop of Fruit, Hey Town Art Center, 2020)


(Related interview: Down and Out Designer, 2020)

The Essence 2017

The purpose of making The Essence was just for fun but it seems connected with my recent practices. The pair of jeans was cut in 2017, out of the interest in visual appearance and inner substance. In 2018, Yifei told me that Carmar Denim was selling the same pair of jeans. And then I pretended to be the designer from that fashion company and challenge the narrative in the self-directed interview.



See video Unity of Opposites on Vimeo.

Unity of Opposites 2016

The exchange of the position of pencil and eraser is a transformation of contradiction.





*******Public Activities*******




Departmental Grad Talk. Jiaqi invited his peer Chenyu to be a special guest. Chenyu was supposed to be a supportive guest, but he turned out to be a person who interrupted and ruined Jiaqi’s talk. Chenyu had opposite opinions against Jiaqi on two major issues: the definition of an artist and the role of art. This self-directed and self-aware artist talk is the 3rd part of Jiaqi's experimental event questioning being an artist.

Watch Full Record.







"At the beginning of 2020, I suffered from several life issues. The feeling of powerlessness, made me question my art and my identity. I need a space to make my point, to talk about art to other artists and art communities.

My work will be art only if it is in art space; I will be an artist only if I have artwork exhibited; I will have discourse power only if I connected myself to art community."






See video Contemporary Art on Vimeo.

Contemporary Art 2018

"Spin the word “ART” in the middle. The combinatorial words that can be seen when it meets different letters bring new significance to the contemporary art."





"I went to Scotland as an exchange student in 2017. I wondered, when is the time I grow up as an artist from an art student? Let me put on a show. I exhibited the exhibition itself, showed the existence of the show (information posted online and photo of posters in real life). And from my stand point, I reviewed an artist's need to maintain the identity as an artist.

It was during the Christmas holiday, everyone was home. But that’s alright, I can write down the first solo exhibition on my CV. I have been an artist since then. "