Yijing Li

Artist Statement


I come from a small town on the Loess Plateau. Surrounded by mountains, figuring the way out is a shared struggle for all its inhabitants.

The apple is an object that embodies both the familiar and the unfamiliar to me. After leaving my small town, standing in front of the supermarket shelves here, apples present themselves in a guise unlike any I've seen before, becoming the first testament for my journey. As the forbidden fruit, as the poisoned temptation that tricked the princess, as the inspiration for the fundamental cornerstone of physics, as the shiny electronic religion, the various connotations associated with this highly symbolic fruit finds new meaning in my latest work: A symbol through which to understand the dynamics of the art market.

One apple a day, uses photography as the main medium for image-making. In this phase of my project, I have collected and photographed 47 distinct apples, each positioned identically, with plans to expand the collection to 73. Each variety is represented in five editions, culminating in a total of 365 apples showcased. The uniformity beneath their diverse exteriors has been a surprising revelation. As descriptors like sweet, sour, juicy, soft, and crispy recur, I've come to realize that this project is a journey of discovery, straddling the familiar and the novel. Compelled to delve deeper into this subject, venturing into the art world with a bag of apples in tow, I now need to navigate the way against various forces in the art world. I am confronted with the challenge of charting my path amidst this struggle to figure out the way out.

Figure and Out are combined to be seen as the full project Figure Out. Figure is the artwork hanging on the wall, in a portrait form showing different apples in the same position and in the grid format. While Out is a role-playing board game about the global art market. Figure presents a distinctive art investment opportunity with a guaranteed 100% chance of winning. The pricing for each edition varies, with values set at 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, 8,000 AED and an unlimited option. When a collector acquires the second print for 2,000 AED, the owner of the first edition is given the option to either keep the print or receive double the amount invested back (i.e., invest 1,000 and receive 2,000 back, or invest 2,000 and receive 4,000 back). In the worst-case scenario, Figure ensures a minimum return of 1,000 AED for the artist, which is essential for the creation of this piece.

The playing cards of Out beckon individuals to participate in a game about the art market by adopting different roles, namely artists, collectors, gallerists, and museum heads. Using the apple portraits as the representational art work in this game, everyone is invited to figure the way out as a participant of the art world. As a young artist, this project serves as a reflection of my nascent understanding of the power dynamics within the art world. Simultaneously, it aims to create an experimental space to observe the impact and direction this work will take in the broader context of the surrounding world.


Bao (b. 2000, Shanxi), is currently based in Abu Dhabi. Her work is primarily focusing on image-making in various mediums, including print, book and performance. Preoccupied with the story behind the image, her work explores the difference between images and making images. She combines introspection and manipulation to show ways in which the processes of making images can convey abstract ideas about our relationship to what is represented, what is seen.

Bao graduated with a BA in Journalism from the Communication University of Zhejiang, and is currently pursuing a MFA in New York University Abu Dhabi. Her work has been shown in exhibitions Fragile, Cang Art Museum in Hangzhou, collected by Cang Art Museum in 2022, and 4th IDBA Exhibition, Icicle Space in Shanghai, awarded as the Justice Choice of 2023. Her artist books have been shown in multiple book fairs in Beijing, New York, Taipei, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Ningbo and elsewhere.