Shuang Li's 'Forever' Exhibition Redefines Fandom in Milan
We step inside the exhibition.
Shuang Li's latest exhibition, "Forever," at Peres Projects in Milan, offers a mesmerizing exploration of fandom, identity, and the intricate relationship between the physical body and the digital realm. This marks Li's third solo exhibition with Peres Projects and her first in Milan, showcasing her multidisciplinary approach to art.
The central piece of the exhibition is a video installation titled "Heart is a Broken Record" (2023). Projected on the bottom of a heart-shaped fountain, the video captures the anticipation and raw energy of My Chemical Romance concerts over the past two decades. By cutting off the actual performance footage, Li creates a unique narrative, re-staging a concert that never occurred, composed entirely of snippets taken before the band takes the stage. It's a poignant reflection on the emotionally charged experience of fandom and the impact that My Chemical Romance has had on the artist's life.
Li delves into the concept of fandom, questioning what it means to be a fan and, specifically, a fangirl. Surrounding the video installation are resin cast wall works freezing various objects and ephemera associated with pop punk culture, fan art, and girlhood. These objects, trapped in transparent molds, take on a distorted and mutant quality, challenging the stereotypical image of fangirl culture. The resin encapsulates Li's own writing, creating a visually striking representation of the intersection between attachment, identity, and iconoclasm.
The exhibition also features standing sculptures of elongated feet and legs, clad in ribbed leg warmers and platform boots. These sculptures reference Li's earlier performance, "Lord of the Flies" (2022), and expand on the symbolism of shoes as containers for absence, suggesting the existence of the absent physical body. The sculptures serve as a reminder of Li's absence in China during the severe years of COVID-19 and explore the immaterial characteristics of digital intimacy across great distances.
"Forever" highlights the absence of physical bodies, whether those of idols in the video installation, performers in "Lord of the Flies," or the artist herself. Through this absence, Li explores the universality of fandom and the ways in which the experience is shaped by attachment, expression, and identification. The exhibition's incorporation of plastic pearls leaking from the resin further emphasizes the relationship between body and screen, showcasing the infiltration of the digital realm into the embodiment of fandom.