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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.

Exhibition view: Group Exhibition, Cache: From B to Z, ShanghART, Shanghai (12 April–30 August 2020). Courtesy ShanghART.

Li Shan Featured Artworks

View All (17)
Reading by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanReading, 1999Oil on canvas
130 x 93 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Writing 写入 by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanWriting 写入, 2017Single-channel animation
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Reading 99 阅读 99 by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanReading 99 阅读 99, 1999Acrylic on canvas
180 x 70 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Untitled by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanUntitled, 2016Acrylic on canvas
50 x 70 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Origins–The Aborigines by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanOrigins–The Aborigines, 1986Oil on canvas
64.5 x 126 cm
Alisan Fine Arts Contact Gallery
Untitled by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanUntitled, 2006Mixed media
102 x 32 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Reading 06 by Li Shan contemporary artwork
Li ShanReading 06, 2006Acrylic on canvas
142 x 388 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery

Li Shan Current & Recent Exhibitions

View All (7)
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Cache: From B to Z at ShanghART, Shanghai
Open Now
12 April–30 August 2020 Group Exhibition Cache: From B to Z ShanghARTWestbund, Shanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Winter Group Exhibition at ShanghART, Beijing
27 December 2019–16 February 2020 Group Exhibition Winter Group Exhibition ShanghARTBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Li Shan, Decoding 打开折叠 at ShanghART, Shanghai
18 May–21 July 2019 Li Shan Decoding 打开折叠 ShanghARTWestbund, Shanghai

Li Shan Represented By

Alisan Fine Arts contemporary art gallery in Central, Hong Kong Alisan Fine Arts Hong Kong
ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Singapore ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore

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