Photograph of artist Li Binyuan on a raised platform lying on his side looking exhausted, next to him are hammers. There are also broken hammers in front of him.

Li Binyuan, Deathless Love. 2015. © University of Salford Art Collection.

Li Binyuan (performance) (and Steve Wade, video), Deathless Love

Year: 2015
Medium: Live performance (and video documentation of live performance)
Dimensions: 58m 44s running time
Brief biography: b. 1985, Yongzhou, China. Lives and works in Beijing


Deathless Love was performed to a live audience at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) during Manchester After Hours 2015, a city-wide evening celebration of Manchester’s culture. The endurance performance featured the artist in position on a concrete plinth surrounded by over 100 hammers which he sets out to destroy, using only the other hammers and his own physical strength.

The performance continued until all the hammers were broken, requiring intense stamina. The work, which first premiered in Beijing in 2012, interrogated ideas of artistic production, liveness and the body as sculpture.

The performance was commissioned as part of his solo exhibition Social Behaviours at CFCCA, which explored Binyuan’s sense of humour, expression and provocation and maverick, anarchic and irreverent approaches.

The acquisition includes a specially commissioned film (in single channel and five channel versions) of the live performance, as well as the last remaining hammer.

The film commission was produced by Steve McWade, a North West based artist and musician whose practice explores live performance, technology and interactive work.

Binyuan’s practice spans sculpture, video and performance – often intervening in urban spaces. His works question the boundaries of performance, intervention and documentation; and consider the body as art object.