This folder contains documentation of Cheng Li’s works in various mediums, created between the early 1970s and 2014; Cheng’s documentation of art events held in Lanzhou and Beijing from 1991 to 2011; printed brochures and mockups of a series of self-published newsletters produced in 1994 to 1995; and unpublished writings by Cheng dating from around 1980 to 2014. It also contains selected photographs with Cheng and those depicting his studios, living environment, travels, and daily activities from the 1970s to 2014, and Cheng’s diaries dating from 1976 to 1996. A small batch of personal files and clippings about Lanzhou artists dated 2006 are also included.
Cheng Li, artist and art event organiser, was born in 1954. He grew up in Lanzhou, and became a factory worker after graduating from middle school at the age of fifteen. In the early 1970s, he started learning oil painting techniques from elder painters living in Lanzhou. Since the 1980s, Cheng has been working as an independent artist, and has produced a large number of paintings. He also works with various media, including performance, installation, calligraphy, ink painting, printing, and collage. Cheng was also an active organiser and participant of experimental art events in Lanzhou. In 1991, he staged his solo show One Day of Masculinity at Biete Wine Bar in Lanzhou. He participated in group exhibitions including Explore, Discovery and Expression: Works by Five Young Artists (1984), 85.8 New Art Show (1985), Rolling on Canvas (1987), and CCLL Art Show (1992). In late 1992, Cheng formed the Lanzhou Artist Army, a group of Lanzhou artists who organised Funeral (1992–93). Cheng moved to Beijing in 1998. He continues to paint, while also participating in various performance art festivals such as Guyu Action (2007), June Alliance (2007), and OPEN Performance Art Festival (2009).