Liao Yibai: leap to the digital realm

Liao Yibai: leap to the digital realm

Liao Yibai , a multi-disciplinary artist, discloses new collections of digital artwork on Sedition. Throughout the pandemic, the artist’s practice has entered a new phase as he more actively employes the computer and software as tools. This special multiple launch of his work starts on Wednesday 3rd of November with the AI Brain Color series, then releases the pairing of Ocean Spectrum and Shape of Water on Thursday, and completes the exposition on Friday with Blooming, Yibai’s latest masterpiece which reveals Yibai’s most recent interests and ideas about new possibilities of materiality, space and interaction in the digital realm.

The artist originally showed extensive practices with paintings, calligraphy, film and sculptures, using diverse ranges of materials from oil paints, stainless steel, metals and rocks. For Yibai, a different medium means a different type of expression and the artistic development that polishes his own unique style.

“Making sure my language is unique and interesting, this is a hard part for me. How can you create the original language? This question pushes me to find a satisfying tool to create a new work. If the tool is more complicated, the possibility is more. Maybe we can dig something new out by using a new tool. So, don’t hesitate to try a new tool, new software, that is a better way to create new art for me.“ Liao Yibai

Still from the Shape of Water by Liao Yibai

Yibai’s openness to using different materials is reflected in his abundance of digital artwork. He started to work with computers when he was in a nearly isolated status and had difficulty accessing a physical place to create sculptures because of Covid-19. 

“I had to stay at home as everybody did, no chance to visit China or to work as usual. I used 90% of my time to focus on my software. I realised that I became a digital artist and that made me so excited. It’s like the first time I learned how to ride a bicycle and enjoyed the different speeds of travelling. I experienced the same feeling when I put my first animation footage and did the final composing. I also felt so happy to share with people my idea, my passion and my language this way.” He says. 

Working with computer software allows him to realise his imagination and to play with his knowledge as a trained sculptor without the limitations of real life. There are neither problems with shipping or storing art pieces nor restraints in materials or in the law of physics. The fascinating transformation of shapes and structures in his works shows how he takes digital media as an opportunity. 

Interview with Liao Yibai

Yibai points out how close the digital world is to our everyday life.

“The current theme for me is human beings and machines. Now we feel like a machine, for example, a cell phone, is biting our hands. [...] Machines occupy too much time and space. We are living with machines, humans and machines can cross together and bind together, and melt into each other. One day we will probably forget what a human being is and what a machine is.“

The AI Brain Color series shows his investigation on "Programme and the Emotions", at the boundaries distinguishing humans and machines. The artist applies the randomness of the AI - which usually belongs to humans rather than machines- to configure the shape of the AI brain. Blooming, which is based on his oil paintings, also presents his understanding of technology and data within human life. The continuous transfiguration in the film is a representation of the confluence of his physical and digital technique and also, that of human life and digital technology.

Stills from the AI Brain Color EP1, EP2 and EP3

“Art is moving, not static”

In Yibai’s digital practice, he considers the axis of time significant. It adds another dimension to his 2D and 3D works as the figures move and change constantly. The Shape of Water and Ocean Spectrum represent his further exploration of the advantages of immateriality in virtual space. Yibai puts the figures of his physical sculptures in digital environments. They keep transforming like water and the liquid forms in artworks “never stop”. 

As he says, his art practice is moving and offers both the artist and viewer a chance to encounter new creativity. Through digital and screen-based works, he can reach wider audiences regardless of the physical distance. 

Top image: still from the Blooming by Liao Yibai

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Liao Yibai
Liao Yibai
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