Li Li Ren at Sherbet Green / London

Li Li Ren / The World forgetting, by the World Forgot

26 January – 16 March 2024

Unit 1, 2 Treadway St, London E2 6QW

Photos courtesy of the artist and Sherbet Green

The World Forgetting, by the World Forgot is the first UK solo exhibition from
multidisciplinary artist Li Li Ren, comprising an installation and sound piece
encircled by new, small-scale sculptures and textiles.
Bathing, compact whooshes, ripples of water when I move, watching the steam
take shape, small bubbled clouds dispersing sweat and toxins and stress. Then
there is earth cracking, crevices releasing lovers, demons, ageless, aged and barely
born. In that vast expanse between our souls, bodies crawl endlessly to reach
junctions west of here, where suns set. Here, there are ghosts, and we will
remember them. I’ll cry ten times over before the day is done, huddled round,
listening to you. You say my universe holds no bounds, intertwining with yours,
tickling its way along your skin. We are parched, cotton wool tongue touching roof
of mouth. It is so strange the way my heart feels heavy when thinking about the
centuries of us, standing, laughing, dying, our spirits moving in weighted mountain
boots across urban deserts. And every time David Attenborough motions, a new
behaviour is born, wheeled out; a reminder of the world forgetting, by the world
forgot, blanched and bleached and ashen, snapshot and amplified.
Why do we write, mythologise and tell lies? In this sandy field, campfire ablaze,
gazes locked in understanding. In this garden I have cultivated, I will remember
your brown eyes as they drift across, a scavenger hungry for its next meal, in a
wasteland that cannot possibly exist. To wait out the night is to wait for birds to
sing, for the dogs to take a bow. Tomorrow, we will continue to look for them, for
new clues of butterflies that last longer than a day; shadows that may linger to tell
us things that only they could. How is it that our purified, toned forms still decay
like snowflakes? Putrid mud. A child asks, moving inside my stomach, growing.
Moulding itself from the cartilage of stories told around flames and on screens;
half-truths catching naive actualities, themselves made up by time. Here, there are
ghosts. Cicadas in praise of short bursts of light, of life, after seventeen years
buried under the soil, nymphs attached to tree trunks. We have so much time and
none at all and all we really do is dance and die. The steam is gone now.