Li Jin | The Last Five Years

 

4 Apr - 9 May 2022 Li Jin

Li Jin | The Last Five Years

Featured artist Li Jin

The cellist YoYo Ma once said that his arduous daily practise frees him to express his ideas, feelings and imagination in performance. In the last five years, the world has been turned upside down, yet New Ink master Li Jin’s routine morning practice session continues in his studio in Beijing, in Buddhist temples in rural Sichuan, in fine hotels in Shanghai or in Kyushu island in Japan.

From 2019 to 2023, many of us encountered challenges in different ways. Li Jin said that “To keep painting is a comfort for me and I hope my work can bring some comfort to others”. His irrepressible humour, his sharp powers of observation and his consummate skill as an ink painter shine through in these depictions of food, mood and a life lived during upheaval.

Li Jin: The Last Five Years opening on 4 April 2024 is Li Jin’s first exhibition in 2024 internationally.

Trailer | Li Jin: The Last Five Years

Art Talk | John McDonald talks about Li Jin

“For Li Jin, there is nothing more authentic or natural than satisfying one’s appetites – whether it be for a table laden with mouth-watering dishes, or the curvy, sexy women who stare vacantly from his pictures.”

Li Jin

John McDonald

Li Jin (b.1958) is one of the most acclaimed living Chinese artists.

One of the keys to Li Jin’s attitude to life is that he uses himself as a character in so many of his ink and watercolour paintings. We see him as amorous, drunk, gluttonous and bewildered; wide-eyed with stupefaction, or dressed in some absurd costume. We realise that all of these personas are contained within one human being, and that each of us harbours the same capacity for multiplicity.

The artist’s self-deprecating humour should not lead us to assume that his work is frivolous or ephemeral. As a painter, Li Jin is skilled in age-old styles known as xieyi (ink wash), and gongbi (fine line brushwork). The latter is associated with an exacting realism, the former is more subjective and distorted. His distinctive style of ink painting became a way of circumventing the demand for grand statements. As avant- gardists made inflated gestures in the name of political and creative freedom, Li Jin’s work remained intimate in nature and often small-scale.

For Li Jin, there is nothing more authentic or natural than satisfying one’s appetites – whether it be for a table laden with mouth-watering dishes, or the curvy, sexy women who stare vacantly from his pictures. If there is a moral to be gleaned from his work, it is to be true to oneself, regardless of all the pressures to conform to social, religious, political and cultural norms.

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Li Jin: The Last Five Years (installation view)

Vermilion Art

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