Journey of Solitary Existence- Li Chen’s “Ordinary People” Series Debut Exhibition at Asia Art Center Beijing

Nov 08, 2014 – Mar 15, 2015
Exhibition Venue
Asia Art Center Beijing|No.2, Jiuxianqiao Rd., Dashanzi 798 Art District, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
At three o’clock in the afternoon on November 15th, 2014, the exhibition of Journey of Solitary Existence- Li Chen’s “Ordinary People” series was officially unveiled, debuting his latest clay sculpture works. Present at the opening were the curator of the exhibition, Yin Shuangxi, who is also a professor at Central Academy of Fine Arts and vice-president at China Sculpture Institute; Tang Yao, an invited scholar and deputy editor at China Sculpture magazine; Song Xiangguang, the director at Sackler Museum of Art and Archeology at Peking University; Duan Haikang, deputy director at the Sculpture Creation Research Institute of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Pan Song, the director at the Department of Public Art at China Sculpture Institute, artist Li Chen as well as many other attendees.

In the “Ordinary People” series, Li Chen turns to depict the various guises of mankind, exposing the “heaviness” of reality, as opposed to the ethereal quality embedded within previous bronze sculptures, which appear content and unfettered. The artist’s latest works further details the cynical nature of humanity within the crackled surface of clay; at the same time, the results mirror individual memories as experienced through the course of one’s life, “to carve on the surface but deep into the heart.”

In recent years, Li Chen has dedicated the majority of his time on realizing the intangible notions of humanity in his creation, thus one can observe in the “Ordinary People” series, which began in 2010, the artist’s many facets of spiritual outlooks are displayed. Yin Shuangxi, the curator of the exhibition, promptly notes that “Li Chen’s tenacity has achieved beyond the already successful and praised form of sculpture, beyond the formalistic beauty of form, as the mental state of our society is refocused instead, while time and change are introduced to sculpture, and while eternity and moment collapse into unity……Presented in front of us are the glory and decay of all beings, enabling our perspectives to wander and linger above reality; as our thoughts stride across a thousand years, witnessing the rise and fall of powers and the vastness of all beings, dissipate into dusts and ashes. ” The first creation of this series is Boundless Desire, which makes its debut at the exhibition; the work is over 7 meters long, distortedly illustrating the progressive onset of greed.

The language of form is no longer the priority here,” invited scholar Tang Yao adds, “by torching the clay to a crackled and ruptured state, the artist conveys the spiritual desolation of modern people, and reveals the faces of all mortal beings with a deeply compassionate awareness; in comparison with Li Chen’s previous works, one notes clearly a vivid contrast between Buddhist enlightenment and urban life, furthering his longing for mercy and redemption.”

The name of Li Chen’s solo exhibition in Beijing, Journey of Solitary Existence, carries a substantial amount of information. “Solitary Existence” delivers a space of tribulation throughout the course of spiritual exploration; “Journey” can be understood as wanderer, which relays the idea of incessant wandering as well. The audience can thus appreciate the labyrinth-like complexity of the exhibition concept.