By Patrick Lozada
Our friends over at Kotaku brought to light a great set of photos of ‘Wangjing Streaker’ Li Binyuan, who has been streaking/driving his scooter around the streets of Beijing carrying alternately a giant wooden crucifix or a blow-up sex doll. The identity of the streaker had been a mystery until he announced his identity on Weibo last week.
“I’ve done this about ten times,” Li wrote online. “So far, only six times have been recorded and put online by spectators.”
Li Binyuan is awesome.
This kind of art is exactly what China needs. While this might just sound like a stupid stunt, Li’s piece is deeper than that. It’s a primal rejection of authority embodied in a dadaistic explosion of schema that shocks the viewer into subversive mode. It’s the same kind of thing Ai Weiwei does with his naked portraits or other absurd endeavors. In his weirdness, he defies a state that still thinks it has a say in defining creativity.
Li isn’t just some weird schmoe either. He is a graduate of the prestigious China Central Academy of Fine Arts, where I’m sure they taught him to paint very nice landscapes. Indeed, in an interview with That’s Beijing Li explained that his behaviour was not about art but rather purely for emotional venting.
Unfortunately, Li is going to be throwing in the towel he’s not wearing. He announced on weibo that his streaking days are over, making these the last such photos you’ll see.
So while the CPC’s art control bureaucrats might try to show off their sophisticated appreciation of art by sanctioning an edited Andy Warhol exhibit, it’s folks like Li who would make that gay, rebellious, drugged-out artist smile.