b. 1942, China

Li Shan Biography

Li Shan has undergone many stylistic changes throughout his unique artistic career but has never lost his ability to express internal sensibilities as well as external reluctances. The latest paintings in his 'Rouge' series show mutant beings with butterflies as ears or as part of their faces. They seem to evoke the two contradictory strains that entail humour, laughter and self-mockery on the one hand and a cynical undercurrent of criticism on the other. 'Rouge' is based on the principle of ambiguity. Li Shan attempts to find an evolving form that can address the problem of trying to extract the recognisable out of the unrecognisable.

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Most recently in a series entitled 'Reading' (2005), he created computer images of various insects and plants. Closer viewing reveals that these insects are composed of human body parts like fingers, ears and genitalia. Through his uncannily realistic representation of interspecies insects, Li Shan questions the hypocrisy and lack of equality of human values in today's politically informed bio-scientific experiments. In terms of artistic style, he has adopted decorative methods similar to those of folk art, thus creating intimate, eccentric and oddly organic objects. Indeed, they seem to be mutant creatures from some hypothetical textbook on horticulture. The synthesised insects are constructions of digital imagery morphed into abstracted pictures. He raises the question of whether it is still possible to identify the boundaries between any particular organism and the world it inhabits. Li Shan's seemingly infinite variety of work reveals a sort of consistency upon closer inspection. All the works evoke a tension within the idea of the yet unknown. He manages to reconcile opposites in a way that leaves them un-reconciled, allowing viewers to reach their own conclusions.

Li Shan was born in Lanxi County in Heilongjiang province and graduated from the Shanghai Academy of Drama in 1968. Li Shan's work has been exhibited in many important exhibitions such as Reading Li Shan, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan (2012); Painting the Chinese Dream: Thirty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); The First Guangzhou Trienniale - Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990 - 2000), Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2002); Chinese Art 30 Years after the Revolution, that traveled through America, ending at the Brooklyn Museum; Inside Out, New Chinese Art, Exhibition of Art from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Asia Society Galleries; PS1, New York; SFMoMA/Asian Art Galleries, San Francisco etc. (1998); 22nd International Biennial of Sao Paulo, Brazil(1994); China's New Art, Post 1989 Art Centre, Hong Kong (1993) and the 45th Venice Biennale (1993) etc.

Text courtesy ShanghART.

Li Shan
featured artworks

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Bio Inquiry 2​ by Li Shan contemporary artwork painting
Li Shan Bio Inquiry 2​, 2020 Watercolour on cardboard
41 x 67 cm
Eli Klein Gallery Request Price & Availability
Reading by Li Shan contemporary artwork painting
Li Shan Reading, 1999 Oil on canvas
130 x 93 cm
ShanghART Request Price & Availability
Writing 写入 by Li Shan contemporary artwork moving image
Li Shan Writing 写入, 2017 Single-channel animation
ShanghART Request Price & Availability
Reading 99 阅读 99 by Li Shan contemporary artwork painting
Li Shan Reading 99 阅读 99, 1999 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 70 cm
ShanghART Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Li Shan contemporary artwork painting
Li Shan Untitled, 2016 Acrylic on canvas
50 x 70 cm
ShanghART Request Price & Availability
Origins–The Aborigines by Li Shan contemporary artwork painting
Li Shan Origins–The Aborigines, 1986 Oil on canvas
64.5 x 126 cm
Alisan Fine Arts Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Li Shan contemporary artwork mixed media
Li Shan Untitled, 2006 Mixed media
102 x 32 cm
ShanghART Request Price & Availability
Reading 06 by Li Shan contemporary artwork painting
Li Shan Reading 06, 2006 Acrylic on canvas
142 x 388 cm
ShanghART Request Price & Availability
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Li Shan
recent exhibitions

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Represented by these
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ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Singapore
ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore
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