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Sijia Li

'Perfection and Restriction'

Nowadays, there are a lot standards about bodies,  especially female bodies . Many people are controlled by the idea of perfect bodies. 


We think muscle is of great value and fat is trash that we need to throw away. The value of muscle is like the value of silver and the value of fat is like the value of copper. 

I mixed silver and copper together as my material to materialize our bodies. As I kept on working with the material: the mix of silver and copper.  I wanted to develop other techniques, then I found another traditional technique: Mokume Gane, a “perfect” material mix of silver and copper.


Each step [in Mokume Gane] has to be perfect. Metals need to be perfectly clean, perfectly together and then put into the oven at the perfect temperature and taken out at the perfect timing. Otherwise, you cannot get the pattern.


Mokume Gane is a 'perfect' technique, as a craftsman, it is my restriction. Mokume Gane reminded me of the processes of getting the perfect body. I had a lot failures during the processes of making Mokume Gane. I was frustrated by these failures, however, when I started to look back at these failures they have their meanings. I accepted these “failures” of Mokume Gane and made them into jewelries. Accepting these failures into my works, I could see the beauty part of them instead of only thinking about the  perfect Mokume Gane. I could free myself instead of being trapped and restricted by the perfect Mokume Gane.


To accept all kinds of bodies in our life, we could see the beauty in them instead of only thinking about the perfect body that social media has tried to tell us. 


5000 years ago in China, craftsmen could make a certain shape of vessel, that kind of vessel represented the power of the emperor. It was a 'perfect' vessel for the craftsmen at that time. 5000 years later, we don’t have the emperor to tell us what kind of shape we should make. But we have all kinds of invisible “ emperor” around us to tell us what kind of body shape we should have. Our bodies are seriously restricted by these restrictions. I used this kind of body shape into my works to represent how we treat our bodies nowadays.

I saw the restrictions of my own body, I realized these restrictions and I will be restricted in my entire life. It is hard to get out of it but I think it is important to realize these restrictions instead of taking these standards of perfect bodies as the only way our body should look like.

Body is the main topic of my work. It started from my own experience.

I used to work out a lot in the gym trying to reach the standards of perfect body that the social media told me to. I could see the advertisements about abs, long legs , buttocks and off shoulder all the time. It seemed that I could become a better person if my body became that way. To reach the goal of a perfect body, I spent a lot time, money and effort in the gym. I was so into the perfect body that it seriously

affected my life and my studies. I even sacrificed my health to reach the goal. My body had to be like that otherwise my life had no point . 


When I kept working with this topic I found that the perfect body issue was not only my own problem. So many people were seriously affected by these beauty standards and we always want to be a certain way to be accepted in the society. I was a small part of this problem. I also wonder how the ideal body image was constructed in our society. Why do we want to be the ideal image? What does it mean to be the same body image in our lives? Who are we with different shapes of bodies? There were so many questions that I could not understand. I needed to work with the topic to help me understand my behavior and what happens in the society that makes me act this way.  


In my project, my focus is not about men’s attitudes towards female bodies. I mainly talk about women’s attitudes towards their own bodies. But the standards of female bodies were largely dependent on men’s gazes. Women always meet the glance and judgments from men. Women also constantly judge themselves and most judgements are

based on men’s gazes. Women also judge each other and themselves based on these standards. Their also meet alot gazes from other women. I want to talk about these gazes from themselves. How do they feel guilty about themselves. 

These pieces are available for sale: $8000AUD each


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