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Reinventing the Bel-Composto - Interview with Aaron Li-Hill

October 29, 2016
Ana Bambic Kostov is an art historian with passion for contemporary art.

Exploring the art created by the finalists of the Blooom Award by Warsteiner at the ART.FAIR Cologne 2016, we encountered a piece, probably one of the most immersive ones at the entire fair. It’s an installationElectric Currents and Mortal Wounds” created by Aaron Li-Hill, an amazingly gifted artist. Even though the piece seems to be pushed to the very corner of the fair, its demanding scale must be the reason behind this, since with it, the corner of the lower hall has become a mini-destination within the fair.

Executed only for this occasion, the “Electric Currents and Mortal Wounds” is the eponymous recreation of the application piece the artist submitted for the award, here modified to address the same subject with a set of different reference, ranging from the myth of Narcissus to the environmental pollution. The piece embeds all the key visual elements of the recognizable Li-Hill’s style, from the figurative depictions of human figure, to the abstract lines protruding into the third dimension. The main information carrier of the piece is set within the concentrated central narrative, expanded through the black reflective surface. Careful positioning of all the installation elements, from which the lighting might play the crucial role, the artist constructed a perfectly harmonious whole, which pulls the viewer in and interacts with them. Reflections and illuminated accents change as the observer approaches the piece, providing the work with an initially invisible kinetic dimension.

Arrested by the piece at the very first sight, I’ve instantly compared it to a Berninian bel composto, amazed that such an archaic idea could be transferred so well to our time, maintaining the spirit and the message of both. Just to mention, Bernini was not only the artist of bel composto, but also the master of the baroque ephemeral spectacle, while the ephemeral note is, again, another trait Li-Hill’s works share with the favorite of the Pope Urban VIII.

Without a religious component, Aaron Li-Hill addresses to the urban man within us, pushing us towards finding a solution against the damage we continuously inflict upon our surroundings. Such an experience, exalting at first and then awakening at the end cannot be described as anything less than – spiritual.

While contemplating the piece and the exhibition, we had the chance to meet Aaron Li-Hill at the Widewalls booth and to engage in a conversation filled with art and visions. Without limiting the topic to the installation piece, we spoke about the artist’s background, his connections to the street art world and his critical view of the contemporary [urban] art world.

The very earnest need to make the impact in order to make the change is something Aaron Li-Hill carries with dignity and we were happy to listen his thoughts and concerns regarding the art world today.

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All images Copyright Tadao Cern