Liao Yibai creates hand-welded stainless steel sculptures that continuously question today’s skewed concept of value by depicting China’s rags-to-riches story of material obsession. The oversized ostentatious sculptures of watches, rings, handbags, and high heel shoes confront the multitudes of popular brands and logos and their overwhelming presence in today’s society. The artist’s works illustrate the challenges he faced during childhood and his paralleled fascination with American culture. The work examines this increasing obsession with opulence and luxury goods while discrediting and glorifying it simultaneously. Yibai is inspired by China’s lucrative fake antique industry as well and the ubiquitous “MADE IN CHINA” tag which adorns a majority of imported goods in the US. The work is a gleaming tribute to the splendors and trials of China, as well as her majestic landscape that is now under threat. The artist was born and grew up amidst a chemical weapons factory in China during the Cold War era. His ironic storytelling is strikingly captured in his body of work that explores the economic battles between China and the US.
Liao Yibai attended the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, and was an art lecturer at Chongqing University. The artist’s work has been exhibited internationally and has garnered press worldwide in The New York Times, ARTnews, and Sculpture Magzine, among others. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.