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Li Ning

Release year: 2010

Run time: 120 mins

Film type: Documentary


Over the years, my research and use of tape has reached a state of obsession and madness.

I reproduced it on the stage, tore it apart in life, stuck it in the depths of my mind...resonance, symbiosis with it everywhere.

In a magical country like China, what I did was destined to become the absurdity of the absurd, and ultimately futile and embarrassing.

As national events continued to happen, I became involved in all kinds of extreme behavior.

There, I finally used my body to reconstruct "reality", and reached an artistic state integrated with the "surreal".

But in the end, I became a photograph, posted to a job application form by social forces, and forced to run the state machine.


Director biography

Li Ning, born in 1972, is a theatre and film director, a physical education researcher and practitioner, and a curator.
He graduated from the Fine Arts Education Department of Shandong Art Academy, specializing in sculpture. In 1997, he founded The Physical Guerrillas, a group engaged in the creation of physical theatre and live performance art, performed at home and abroad.
As an artist, he has created a large number of theatre and film works, many of which have become classics of contemporary Chinese physical theatre and video art, and he is also recognized as a representative of these two fields.
He was invited to perform, or to exhibit, exchange and to create, at the Julidans Art Festival in Amsterdam and the Culturescapes Festival in Switzerland. Since 2010, he has also been invited to participate in the creation of the French Limitrophe Company, a situational drama group, which has toured the Festival d’Aurillac, the Ghent Art Festival in Belgium, the Stoke Art Festival in the UK, and the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, among others.
As an experimental film director, his famous works Tape and Untitled-3 have been collected by dozens of university libraries, art galleries, and museums in the United States. Li Ning has received funding from various national foundations many times to complete his theatre and film works, such as the Dutch Done Foundation (which supported Li Ning and The Physical Guerrillas for 3 years, in 2006, 2007, 2008), and the EU cultural project Chin-A-Moves, as well as the China Independent Film Fund Indie Cinema Fund and so on.
As a curator, he presided over and participated in the operation of the Jinan Fangyu Art Festival, the Weifang Village Theatre Festival, the International Factory Theatre Festival Laiwu, and other platforms to improve China's ecology of art and literary.

Director's statement

This is a documentary, because it records my spiritual life, rather than the superficial reality of a traditional documentary.

This is a drama, because the best screenwriter couldn’t't imagine these strange plots and coincidences.
This is an experimental film, because its core is an experimental spirit of intrepid exploration, not surface form.

Through five years, three moves (including a demolition), four computer accidents, two reviews. More than 30 people have worked as photographers, four groups of actors have changed, numerous body injuries...

We spent all our money and everything we had…

I've turned myself into tape, and I'm sticking myself on tape.

By doing this, I sort of have an answer for half my life.