Zen Buddhism and lazers are probably not two immediate associations you’d make in your mind. The sound of one hand clapping probably doesn’t sound like a laser firing up (pew-pew), but that also depends on who’s doing the clapping. For artist Li Hui, the two share a meditative power but also, crucially, are interlinked in his work through the concept of duality.
In many of his pieces, Hui contrasts different materials—LEDs and wood, steel and lasers—and this duality is considered important in Zen philosophy, because when two opposing forms collide, something new is created. Looking at his work you can’t help feel you’re looking at something altogether unique, forged by the meeting of contrasting forms: a car wreck, lasers, and bandages in Transition or a crossbow merged with an aircraft carrier in Transforming Aircraft Carrier – Crossbow.
Cracked contains a hail of lasers raining down to create a pool of red light that cracks the board below, while F-1 is a see-through blue car that betrays a skeletal frame within. The latter is an aesthetic Hui uses where an object has one shape on the outside and another within—what he refers to as a “conversation of two opposing forces.”
Lui’s work has an unreal, dream-like quality and it’s not surprising to hear Hui state in the video above: “The works that I create are all driven by my childhood dreams.” Looking at the ethereal forms he conjures, they definitely provoke a sense of wonder in the viewer.
Images: © Zadok Gallery