Li Chen: Paradox in Elegance—Spiritual Journey through the Mundane World
A Return to Humanity Arising from the Paradox in Elegance.
Asia Art Center is pleased to present Li Chen: Paradox in Elegance—Spiritual Journey through the Mundane World which takes place from March 11 to April 20, 2023. It is Li Chen’s first exhibition in Taiwan in 6 years since Being: In/Voluntary Drift—Li Chen Solo Exhibition was held at MOCA Taipei in 2017. It is, too, Li Chen’s first grand-scale solo exhibition at the flagship space of Asia Art Center (Taipei). An internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, Li has developed a rich body of art on the foundation of sculpture where he explores values and fixed patterns in both Eastern and Western cultures. With unique styles and artistic language forged throughout his career, Li’s artworks are often infused with hints of philosophical thoughts that implicate social issues.
This solo exhibition focuses on the Mundane World. New sculptures are shown alongside graphic works and sketches to present a diverse array of inspirations and cognitive processes of the artist during his artistic creation and in daily life. As a new chapter to Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether on which Li has been working for a considerable period of time, the Mundane World continues a similar sculptural aesthetics referred to as monumental levity as well as the ink-black element. In spite of their liberating, carefree shapes almost transcending the mundane world, the pieces subtly insinuate the weight of the responsibility to be socially-engaged.
“A Return to Humanity Arising from the Paradox in Elegance” serves as a preface to the exhibition, which speaks to Li Chen’s care for spirituality and society seen in his previous exhibitions. Implications addressing things in life are to be readily found in Li’s rounded, weightless pieces. However, the so-called “return” in the new series, the Mundane World, marks a departure from the poignant depiction of innate human nature in Ordinary People. Following a continuous thread that runs through Li’s artistic trajectory— “in search of spiritual space,” he transforms his restless soul into a permanent part of the series. Moreover, with more experience of different stages of life, Li realizes that the most indescribable conflicts in the inner world are all too often concealed by appearance. The implicated elegance is calm and at ease. How do deep-seated desires remain dormant? Viewers can notice obscured clues of ideation/initiation hidden by the artist in the artworks as they reflect on their own life experience. The stirred feelings vary greatly, depending on each individual viewer’s perception.