November 30th, 2013 through February 13th, 2014
Artist Li Qing‘s solo show In the Vicinity comprises a new series of site-specific installations, videos, mixed media and poet etc. By creating visual illusions and juxtaposing or transforming different visual symbols, artist demonstrates us a dynamic cityscape of Shanghai: a complex web of various ideologies and notions coexisting and mingling. He opens up dialogues between the history and the present as well as between the past and the future.
“In the Vicinity” comes from a poem by the famous poet Wang Bo in Tang dynasty, “A bosom friend afar brings distant land near”, a metaphor of idealized cosmopolitanism as an outcome of the modernist movement in China since hundreds of years ago. Especially in Shanghai, culture and notions of all sorts meet here. Conflictive ideologies and political paths converge here. For artist, Shanghai has been the origin and prototype of China’s modern cosmopolitanism. He collects traces of the restless period of history and put them on the wall. Even the location of the gallery is also associated as part of the show. Watching through gallery windows, street scenes and architectures in the vicinity seems to be included, becoming a realistic extension of artist’s offerings.
Li Qing marks his emergence as the pioneer of “Intellectual Painting” by critic Lv Peng through early series like Finding Differences and Images of Mutual Undoing and Unity etc. Painting the visual game on easel or playing with symbol references like René Magritte couldn’t keep artist in status quo. He advances to the probing of the realm of three dimensions from painting surface. The best example would be the stella series in this show Neighbour’s Windows. Artist collects old used windows from normal households, and pastes on the back of glass with freshly painted sceneries of Shanghai in different times and regions. It generates poetic illusions, bringing viewers to the vicinity and re-illustrating the changing course of local history and culture. Neighbour’s Windows develops two narrative lines—the Stalinist architecture marking the friendship between Soviet Union and Chinese government in 1956 and the 1920s buildings on the bund designed by international architects. The actual window frames versus paintings bring viewers the memory of a certain period of history.
Soviet culture and histories are highlighted in many of Li Qing’s Works. Black Square on the Black Board borrows Malevich’s (Kazimir Severinovich Malevich,1879-1935)Suprematist style, compiling a collage work with ruler and geometric shapes. It turns out to be artist’s comparative study on the history and culture of the two cities. The different naming of St. Petersburg and Shanghai unveils unparalleled political paths. Carving and oil on wood board Poets, Party and Me and Video Sweet Statue·Pushkin in Shanghai revolve around the same theme based on artist’s study of the Pushkin statue nearby. Artist juxtaposes the Pushkin statue, a spiritual icon of Romanticism with the Camel bar across the street. The image Camel marks the era of far-flung consumerism and pop culture. In the video work Sweet Statue·Pushkin in Shanghai, artist pours sweet chocolate syrup onto the statue, connoting the invading of Western consumerism to Soviet Romanticism that artist cherishes.
The second floor is covered with wall paper of repeated images of “Guest-Greeting Pine”, extracting the pine tree motif from a tapestry work Pine Trees on Yellow Mountain. “Guest Greeting Pine” bears a strong aesthetics taste of Socialism. It was copied and repeated unlimitedly to meet petit-bourgeois aesthetics, delivering a twisted humor against the social system. On the third floor a set of three installation works Reincarnation·Two Women challenges the common way of viewing. The first one of the set borrows two women’s face taken from the monument of Nanchang Uprising on August 1st in wax to the two sides of wooden box interior, placing fresh succulent plants in between. Grouping with the other two installations, this series develops different story lines about the two women in different social backgrounds.
Li Qing graduated from Oil Painting Department of China Academy of Art in 2007. He held solo shows at Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, China; Tomás y Valiente Art Centre, Madrid, Spain; Duolun Museum Of Modern Art, Shanghai, China and Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, etc. A number of prestigious art institutes also include his works for group shows, such as The 55th Biennale Di Venezia Special Invitation Exhibition, Arsenale di Venezia, Italy; National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan; ART COLOGNE 2013, Cologne, Germany; the 9th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China; São Paulo Museum of Contemporary Art, São Paulo, Brasil, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, USA and Square Gallery of Contemporary Art etc. His works are collected by many art institutes and foundations, such as M+ Art Museum, Hong Kong, China; Deutsche Bank, Germany; Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain; Art & Culture Foundation (IAC) of Spain, Madrid, Spain; Logan Foundation, San Francisco, USA; Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; Yuz Foundation; Budi Tek Collection, Shanghai, China; Square Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nanjing, China; China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, etc.
Li Qing currently lives and works in Hangzhou.
Art Forum, “Li Qing: In The Vicinity”, December 2013 [download pdf]
Global Times, “In The Vicinity” , December 2013 [download pdf]
Artinfo, “Li Qing’s In The Vicinity”, December 2013 [download pdf]
DF daily, “An Exquisite Scene of Realistic Comedy” , December 2013 [download pdf]
Hi Art, “Li Qing’s first solo show in Shanghai, ‘In The Vicinity’”, December 2013 [download pdf]
Art China, “Li Qing at Leo Xu Projects”, January 2014 [download pdf]
Artface, “Art is Channel”, January 2014 [download pdf]