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b. 1969, China

Zhou Li Biography

Zhou Li is known for dynamic abstractions that begin from natural observation, only to take on particular shapes based on personal experience and feeling.

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Early Years

Born in Hunan, China, Zhou attended the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, where she studied oil painting, before moving to live in France in 1995. After returning to China in 2003, Zhou started incorporating line and abstraction into her works.

Zhou Li Artworks

Working across painting, sculpture, and installation, Zhou Li's observations of the world are expressed through calligraphic abstractions that begin from nature, but capture echoes of sentiment and the artist's shifting emotional landscape.

Dynamic Abstractions

Drawing from the central tenets of traditional Chinese art, including qiyun, or atmosphere, colour, brush stroke, and composition, Zhou's free-flowing abstractions begin from observations of nature—and particularly the mountainous regions of southern China—to form a distinct visual language grounded in personal impressions.

For the 2017 exhibition Shadow of the Wind at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, Zhou incorporated a sound work alongside abstracted line works, which were conceived to convey a sense of 'inner order' and incorporate personal feelings and experiences into otherwise set concepts.

Drawing from the legend of Pan Gu, which posits the creation of the universe through the separation of existing forms, the mixed-media painting series 'Lines: White Shadow' and 'Line: Pink' (both 2016) show aggregated outlines of imperfectly rounded shapes. In the latter series, a white-outlined shape stands out against a background of shapes with darker outlines, as if to express the alienation encountered in a foreign place.

Fluid Lines

As with her paintings, Zhou's installations are conceived as fluid arrangements, which create rhythms and textures through looped assemblages of freestanding organic shapes.

Large-scale outdoor installations like the 20-metre-tall steel entanglement The Ring of Life (2017) do not seem particularly out of place in nature, while smaller renditions with more matter-of-fact titles like Lines or Ring (both 2017) take on unusual curvatures that depart from the rigidity of geometric abstraction to recall something living.

Nature and Nurture

Titled after natural elements or seasons, series like the 2018 'Wind and Thunder' see tonal expressions and pastel garlands of light pink, beige, and violet dance over light-cast landscapes like a soft embrace, raising unexpected sentiments uncommonly associated with forceful states of weather.

The same soothing playfulness cannot be said of Spring No.2 or Spring No.3 (both 2020). Despite their clear turquoise waters dotted with flickers of flashing reeds, the first features smudges of evasive shadow at its centre, while the presence of fluorescent green beneath the dark waters hints at something more sinister in the second.

Although both show forms that point to linear abstraction commonly attributed to Western painting, their atmospheres, colours, and substructures recall seventh-century painter Zhan Ziqian's blue-green landscape Strolling about in the Spring.

Awards and Accolades

Zhou was appointed Director of the Institute of Abstraction and Contemporary Arts at the Centre of Research on Artistic and Cultural Innovation and Development, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou in 2015. She has also been a guest professor in the Oil Painting Department, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts since 2013.

Exhibitions

Zhou Li's works have shown widely in Asia, Europe, the U.K., and the United States.

Select solo exhibitions include Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2020); White Cube, London (2019); UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2017); Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2017).

Selected group exhibitions include Artron Art Centre, Shenzhen (2021); Guangzhou Museum of Art (2020); Hive Center for Contemporary, Beijing (2017); 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

Instagram

The artist's Instagram can be found here.

Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2022

Zhou Li Featured Artworks

Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.6 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting
Zhou Li Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.6, 2022 Mixed media on canvas
160 x 130 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.7 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting
Zhou Li Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.7, 2022 Mixed media on canvas
194 x 180 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.5 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting
Zhou Li Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.5 Mixed media on canvas
200 x 300 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.4 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting
Zhou Li Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.4, 2022 Mixed media on canvas
160 x 130 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.3 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting
Zhou Li Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.3, 2022 Mixed media on canvas
160 x 130 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery
Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.1 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting
Zhou Li Landscape of nowhere: Water and dreams No.1, 2022 Mixed media on canvas
250 x 600 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery
Spring No.3 / 《春》之三 by Zhou Li contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture, photography, print
Zhou Li Spring No.3 / 《春》之三, 2020 Mixed media on canvas
130 x 160 cm
Kerlin Gallery Contact Gallery

Zhou Li Current Exhibitions

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