February 2 – March 5 2007
"The evolution of human kind has already found its end"
Li Shan on "Reading"
The sur-real universe depicted in Li Shan's paintings is a world
inhabited by magical creatures, half humans – half animals, figures
with butterfly wings and other mutant beings. This imaginary world is
informed by poetic and erotic sensibility along with an undercurrent of
unease and estrangement. Here, the painted world is based on a
principle of ambiguity and questions of what human existance is and
where it is going. In terms of artistic style, the artist has adopted
decorative methods similar to those of folk art, thus creating
intimate, eccentric and oddly organic objects
Most recently in a photographic series entitled "Reading"
(2005-ongoing), he has created imagery of various insects and plants.
Closer viewing reveals that these creatures are composed of human body
parts like fingers, ears and genitalia. Through his uncannily realistic
representation of interspecies insects, Li Shan underscores his
pre-occupation with bio-politics and its consequences. The synthesized
insects are constructions of digital imagery morphed into yet another
crossbreed. He raises the question of whether it is still possible to
identify the boundaries between any particular organism and the world
Li Shan was one of the leading figures of Shanghai's avant-garde
movement in the 1980s. His work has been exhibited internationally in
solo and group exhibitions such as Painting the Chinese Dream: Chinese
Art 30 Years after the Revolution, that traveled through America,
ending at the Brooklyn Museum, China's New Art, Post 1989 Art Centre
(Hong Kong) and the 45th Venice Biennale. Li Shan was born in Lanxi
County in Heilongjiang province and graduated from the Shanghai Academy
of Drama in 1968.