Li Lihong's practice brings together the art of traditional Chinese porcelain and contemporary western iconography in distinctive sculptural hybrids.Read More
Li Lihong is known for his distinctive porcelain sculptures, which combine traditional Chinese ceramic arts and stylised imagery with western cultural iconography.
Incorporating the instantly recognisable logos of global brands such as McDonald's, Nike, Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola, the Michelin Man, and Apple, as well as currency symbols, numerals, and Chinese stars, Li Lihong examines the intertwining of cultures, politics, and economies in an increasingly globalised world.
Li Lihong's practice can be seen to sympathise with the 20th-century Pop art movement in the west, where everyday objects, advertising, and cultural references made their way into artworks as a defiant response to traditional outlooks and approaches to fine art. Li Lihong's works further subvert these concerns, ascribing capital and cultural value to the inherent mass-produced nature of the brands they mimic. Juxtaposing symbols of consumerism with traditional earthenware processes, the artist makes subtle references to China's own historic export and global trade of valuable porcelain wares.
McDonald's - One Hundred Kids Play (2007) comprises the distinctive golden arches rendered in porcelain—albeit covered in the artist's illustrations of cherub-like children painted in the traditional Chinese aesthetic. McDonald's opened its first restaurant in China in 1990, in Shenzhen, during a period of increasing American economic presence in the country following the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976.
Li Lihong's 'Apple China' series (2007—ongoing) presents the American multinational tech company's iconic fruit logo in lustrous silver or gold, the bitten interior revealing blue and white waves. Other variations see the entire surface of the apple painted in blue and white imagery such as dragons and clouds, with the bite a plain block colour. Lihong's Apple China series speaks to globalisation and the entangled international manufacturing chain—with Apple today having a significant manufacturing base in China, as well as retail operations for Chinese consumers.