Lei Lei

Lei Lei

Beijing, China


“Chinese artist, filmmaker and musician, Lei Lei, creates (or recreates in Recycled and Hand colored no.2) environments that often fuse magic realism, science-fiction, comic books and video games into visually delicious, handmade, candy-colored worlds that are naïve, hopeful, nostalgic and occasionally silly in the belief that love can liberate us all. Throughout his work, Lei Lei lovingly celebrates the marginalized, misunderstood and forgotten, resuscitating them with a new air of hope, purpose and humanity.” —Chris Robinson


Lei Lei is an artist and filmmaker born in 1985 in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. He is an experimental animation artist with his hands on video arts, painting, installation, music and VJ performance. With a master’s degree in animation from Tsinghua University in 2009, the next year his film, This is LOVE, was shown at Ottawa International Animation Festival and awarded The 2010 Best Narrative Short. In 2013 his film Recycled was the Winner Grand Prix shorts – non-narrative at Holland International Animation Film Festival. In 2014 he was on the Jury of Zagreb / Holland International Animation Film Festival. and he was the winner of 2014 Asian cultural council grant. He worked in the CalArts Experimental Animation program and was invited for New Academy Member for the Short Films and Feature Animation branch. In 2019 his first feature film, Breathless Animals, was selected by Berlinale Forum.



Examples of Collage in Motion


experimental animated film and photography collage; 5:40 minutes

The following images were sourced over the years from a recycling zone in the outskirts of Beijing. This archive of more than half a million 35mm color film negatives is a photographic portrait of the capital and the life of her inhabitants over the last thirty years. Here, we selected 3000 photos to create the animation you are about to see.

Books on books

Books on books
password: books
experimental animated film; 11:11 minutes

Since May 2013, I have been cutting out these “foreign cover” patterns printed on Chinese books and using a collage to combine them into a series of images. I have also used stop motion animation to record the creative process. During the three years, I have collaged and produced almost 100 fictitious book covers and 100 loop animations.

Hand colored no.2

Hand colored no.2 (Cinema Version)
password: HAND
16/9 stereo; experimental animated film and photography collage; 4:52 minutes; 2013

In 2013, we collected a number of black-and-white photos from Chinese flea markets and imagined that all of them belonged to one fictional Chinese person. Through rendering, collage, and a cyclical process of hand coloring, scanning, and printing, we created connections among the photos. We spent two years repeating this process. These 1168 hand-colored photos invoke the passage of time, injecting life into the imaginary protagonist as he ventures through time and space.



password: weekend
experimental animated film and photography collage; 6:45 minutes

Which are more significant, artworks or art archives? Which is more important, the picture or the process of image production, the way an image is viewed or the positioning of the image?