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Li Wei Chinese art Free-Falling Beijing

They appear to be suspended in mid-air, neither floating into the sky nor plunging to their deaths.

But these people are just the latest artwork by Chinese performance artist Li Wei, who uses a combination of mirror, metal wires, scaffolding and acrobatics to create his remarkable real-life montages.

His work is a mixture of performance art and photography that creates illusions of a sometimes dangerous reality.

Wei's photos, which sell up to $8,000 (£4,200), often depict him free falling from tall buildings.
Li Wei art
At least nine people cling to Li Wei, in the white long-sleeved T-shirt, as he appears to plummet towards the ground


Li Wei Art

Light as a feather: This small girl holds onto a horse's tail to stop herself floating away

My work and artistic experience are characterised by a unique specificity and particularity,' says the 37-year-old artist from Beijing.

'My artistic language is universal and deals with themes about contemporary politics and society using symbols understood by everyone in every part of the world.

'I am fascinated by the unstable and dangerous sides of art and I hope my works reflect these aspects.'

The artist loves the reaction that his work evokes from people who pass it on the street.

He said: 'The first reaction is astonishment. Some people think they are full of sense of humour. They are curious about how I did this.

'Sometimes I am in real danger - I have to hang myself high with steel wires and people do get a little worried for me - but I am fine.'

Li Wei sees his art as both a mission to set the scene for the perfect photograph and a perfect performance.

'Each photograph lies with a performance', he said.

'For me, how to express myself and the process is more important. I don't care much about if that's performance or photography.'

Li Wei Art
Cartoon: A small child seems to be carried away into the cloudy sky as she clings onto Hello Kitty and a Minnie Mouse balloons


Li Wei Art
Pure strength: Li Wei balances ten people on his arms in this demonstration of the impossible


Li Wei Art
I believe I can fly: A group of friends are unperturbed as they launch themselves from the upper branches of a tree


Li Wei Art
Drowning not waving: Impossibly upright and balancing upside down headfirst in the sea, Li Wei says he aims to amuse his audience as much as he baffles them


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