Untitled Document

Family Village - Dinu Li

Date: 16 March – 17 April 2009


Dinu Li was co-commissioned by ArtSway and the Arts Institute at Bournemouth to research and develop a new film entitled Family Village, the second in a trilogy of films that take their titles from the three most common ways to say the word ‘country’ in Chinese, and explores themes connected to urbanism, heritage, architecture and cultural values.

Dinu Li’s practice spans a range of media including video, photography and installation. His work encompasses documentary, storytelling, chance encounters and the figments of imagination, and centres on the relationship between the personal and the political, the public and the private. Shaped by forces that determine our social structures, Li draws inspiration from an engagement with the many cultures he encounters.

Since 2005, Li has researched recent cultural trends taking place in contemporary China. Using language as a starting point, the artist delves into the word ‘country’ and the meanings offered by a dictionary. In Chinese, ‘country’ has three meanings, (1) Ancestral Nation, (2) Family Village and (3) Nation Family.

Li will be exhibiting the first two parts of his trilogy: Ancestral Nation and Family Village. Family Village was originally inspired by a news story, describing how an image of Dorchester in a Christmas card managed to influence the design of a new satellite town in Chengdu. China’s recent appetite to match the vernacular architecture found in British provincial towns contrasts with its history of isolation and a past virtually unaffected by outside ideologies.

Family Village premieres at the Gallery, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth and will be exhibited at ArtSway’s New Forest Pavilion at the International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, in June 2009.

Dinu Li

Born in Hong Kong, Dinu Li is a UK-based artist living in Manchester. Li has exhibited his work internationally. Recent shows were held at the 3rd Bucharest Biennale; Museumsnacht, St Gallen, Switzerland; Rivington Place, London; University of North Texas Art Gallery; Kulturbunker Cologne; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Contact Photo Fest’ 05 Toronto; White Space 798, Beijing; and the Liverpool Biennale ‘04. His work has been reviewed in several catalogues and magazines such as Portfolio, Next Level, Tema Celeste, Ryuko Tsushin, and is featured in Thames and Hudson’s The Photograph as Contemporary Art. In 2007, Li published a major monograph of his work, The Mother of All Journeys. It was short-listed for the Contemporary Book Award at the 2007 Rencontres d’Arles Awards and was placed amongst the Best Photography Books for 2007 by The Sunday Times. He is the recipient of many national awards and commissions, and has undertaken residencies in China, Kazakhstan and the USA.

FREE Coach Trip from London

Saturday 21 March Departure 10.30am from Tate Britain Return 4.00pm to Tate Britain To celebrate the opening of Family Village, there will be a special coach trip organised by ArtSWay Xtra, from London to text+work, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth, to view the exhibition and to attend a talk by Dinu Li.


Panel Discussion and Publication Launch

Monday 23 April The Gallery, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth, 5pm – 7pm

A panel discussion focusing on Family Village and on Li’s trilogy project will mark the launch of the Family Village publication.

Panel: Dinu Li, Stephanie James, Peter Bonnell. Chaired by Professor Jim Hunter.


FAMILY VILLAGE: DINU LI is published by text+work, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth.

Family Village will be presented in a new publication examining Li’s art practice and its wider social context, launched as part of this exhibition. The publication includes the artist in conversation with Teresa Gleadowe and a critical text by Professor Gerard J. DeGroot.

The exhibition and publication is supported by text+work and the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. Family Village is an ArtSway and text+work, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth co-commission.

£5.00 ISBN: 978-0-901196-34-7

For further information and to purchase the accompanying publication, please contact: text+work, The Gallery Office T: 01202 363272 E: gallery@aib.ac.uk


Family Village is sponsored by Halcrow

Halcrow is one of the world’s leading development consultancies, with a pedigree stretching back to 1868. Halcrow specialises in the provision of planning, design, engineering and management services for clients and development projects worldwide. With interests in planning, urban design, transportation, water, power, maritime and property, the company is undertaking commissions in over 80 countries from a network of nearly 30 UK and over 50 offices worldwide. Halcrow operates throughout Asia, from India in the west to Korea in the east, working for public and private sector clients in many thriving countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. www.halcrow.com

(Download PDF for full essay / text)