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Memory Fragments of Xi Bianmen - China Project

Mail Boxes 2021

Readymade Installation – abundant mailbox

The series of works are in the discussion of memories, by document of a community’s changes.This work is created mainly based on the old neighborhood I grew up in. The building was an apartment granted by the government (to my grandfather). The community has totally changed, because the old faculties and employees who lived there have passed away, and their offspring have moved to other places. Now, most of the apartments are rented, to the people who move to Beijing for jobs.

This installation is the old mail boxes which had not been used for 15 years, because the post office replaced them with a new one in front of the building. I removed it from the iron railing by the stairs with a chainsaw. Rearranging them into a new layout, I displayed them as a new installation.

In the age without mobile phones, writing letters was the only way of long-distance communication. People exchange information and extend greetings through correspondence, changing many people’s fates in their unique way.

The forgotten letters covered with dust were left in the discarded mailbox, like the people being overlooked by the era, which also represents the transformation of the times.

Documentation of the community 2021

Digital Photography

Mail Boxes 2021

Readymade Installation – abundant mailbox

Community Information Wall 2021

Custom made stamps, found coupons, fiberglass, plaster, varnish on wood board

60 x 80 cm

The piece is a copy of a typical community information wall. The wall should be used to update community-related information. However, most of them are unapproved ads (we called it xiao guanggao, meaning illegal ads that affects the public space), only some are notifications by the Residents Committee. The painting used the technique of mural painting to make this wall, and used multi- media and other methods such as ash, clay, burning and smashing to make it look old. I collected the dumped stamps of small-sized stamp producers, and old advertisements with characteristics in the mailbox, and produced this notification wall with the memory of the past which was abandoned a long time ago.


Adds 2021

Found object ( newspaper, files) ,plaster on wood board

60 x 80 cm

For this art work, I used the discarded public prints to make the art work, documenting how the past media changing the public memory. I chose some representative advertisements of the time and embedded them into the walls with lime, manifesting the termination of the age of creative and radical ad marketing and the transformation to new media.


Select ads; (Left top corner) A photo of a doctor of medicine is juxtaposed to a cardio-cerebrovascular clinic. (The red one) Beauty Economy: Upon opening, an attention-grabbing advertisement targeted at females appears. (Right bottom corner ) The New Year‘s card is printed with a uniform lottery ticket issued by China Post. (Right top conner newspaper) the nail fungus treatments ads. It used to be very common in China. (The dark red one) registration of residency- inside is apartment selling ads.

Locks and Address 2021

Found object ( locks and mails)

By using locks and forgotten letters from the mail box, I completed the art work. These locks contain more private information.


The letters’ cover emphasize this specific address of this community- Xibianmen in Beijing (Chinese character西便门, which wrote on the cover of letters as address.)

Stressing the change of the Xibianmen neighborhood also one can get a glimpse of the changes of Beijing through times.

The Pass and Now 2021

Readymade – abundant mailbox , monitors

Box zize 48 x 55 x 31.5 cm , Screen size: 8 x 4.5 cm x 6

This historic items evoke the memory of this community. Mail served as the most efficient and only way for messaging and notification, which still function as before, but it has been replaced by the mobile phone text.

I photographed the neighborhood, capturing the most familiar streets, the door of my home, the people I see often, the community’s underground office and the apartment building from my usual perspective. Also, combining the mailbox outside my home, I tried to create a narrative of my childhood memories. Meanwhile, this installation work also provides fractional information and leave room for imagination for the audience to form a story or a past.

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Ruoheng LI Tel- China: +86-13261332037 | Tel-UK: +44-7466008778. | Email: EDUCATION BACKGROUND Royal College of Art | London, UK. (In progress) - Degree: Master of Comyemp


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