Chen Li (b. 1971, Kunming) is an artist of extraordinary scope and originality who is attracting serious interest from public and private sectors.
This is his third solo show in London, and his first visit to the U.K.
Breathing new life into an existing medium, Chen Li reaches out from within the cultural context of his native Kunming, the capital of China’s frontier Yunnan Province, in a way that speaks to universal experiences.
Inspired by the spectacular landscapes and Buddhist philosophy of Yunnan, Chen Li weaves East and West into a unique visual language full of harmony, spontaneity, and a brilliant interplay of colours and textures. His works are joyful, dynamic, and intoxicatingly peaceful.
Defying categorisation, he says “Chinese art and Western art have different views about reality. But when I paint, I ignore the rules to create living artistic images. Just like writing a love letter, content is key; what pen you use is not important."
ABOUT CHEN LI
Chen Li lives and works in Kunming. Born into an artistic family in 1971, he grew up surrounded by the avant-garde artists of the post-Cultural Revolution, equally inspired by the works of Bruegel and de Kooning as of Guan Xiu and Zhao Wu-ji.
Chen Li defines his practice as a constant transformation, a living art. The freedom of Chen Li’s thoughts is echoed in the freedom of his strokes and the originality of his compositions. His flying strokes render wind, clouds, the universe – transporting the viewer into the experience.
After a turbulent youth and a near-fatal accident, Chen Li goes deep inside himself to find peace, harmony and balance. This search gives his works an extraordinary power and great energy. “I paint what I feel in my heart... For this I have to face my past, and have the courage to see past successes and failures.”
Chen Li’s works have been placed in significant private collections in the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States, and have been shortlisted by the Royal Academy of Art.