Li Songsong’s (b. 1973, Beijing) paintings animate the fragmentary nature of images and memory, paying particular attention to the people, events, and themes of modern and contemporary Chinese history. Although his compositions draw on found imagery—with a range of sources including restaurant advertisements, historical photographs, and movie stills, among others—Li freely reinterprets, alters, or omits visual information to provoke histories and memories. The resulting works eschew narratives, presenting pieces and traces of something rather than a totalizing record of existing information.
Li has been the focus of many publications and international exhibitions, including Li Songsong at the Museo d’Arte Modema di Bologna, Italy (2015), which traveled to Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany (2016) and Non-Revision at the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2018).
Pace Beijing is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Li Songsong. Consisting of a single work, this will be the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery in China. The internationally-acclaimed artist has taken forays into abstraction and alternative forms before, but never one quite so extreme as this exhibition. With this work, Li Songsong literally inverts his signature impasto oil on aluminum medium, turning the traditional structure inside out. However, instead of dismantling and reconstructing found imagery from historic and often politically charged photographs, the artist has chosen to depict nothing. There is a lack of iconography and an absence of figuration with which viewers must grapple to construct their own experiential meaning. Li Songsong does not provide a readily accessible narrative, as the artist presents the possibility for viewers to discover dimension through other means. The passage of the audience through the exhibit can be seen as an experience of perceptual rebirth, perhaps for the viewers, perhaps for the artist himself. Li Songsong offers us no instructions or commentary, but rather invites us to face the challenge of deriving unique personal meaning from our journey through the exhibition.
Li Songsong was born in Beijing in 1973. He graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1992 and received a B.F.A in oil painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. The artist has been included in numerous international exhibitions at institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; MoMA PS1, New York; the Saatchi Gallery, London; Ullens Center, Beijing; the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum; the Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; and the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany. His work was included in Through the Looking Glass, a special project for the 2007 Moscow Biennale. Li Songsong was the recipient of the 2011 Martell Artists of the Year Award. He lives and works in Beijing, China.
Pace London and Phaidon Press will celebrate the launch of the Chinese Art Book at a private reception at Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens where Li Songsong’s exhibition We Have Betrayed the Revolution is currently on view - until 9th November. The Chinese Art Book is a beautiful, authoritative overview of Chinese art. It presents a definitive selection of 300 works, from the earliest dynasties to the new generation of contemporary artists enlivening the global art world today. From painting,
The Daily Beast, September 24, 2012: Li Songsong, an old master back from the future. At Pace gallery in Beijing, the well-known Chinese artist Li Songsong is presenting this strange sculpture/painting/installation. It consists of 91 oddly shaped aluminum panels (many look like the staircase that folds into the fuselage of a small jet) all covered in Li’s signature thick paint and assembled as a tunnel. It’s kind of Frank Auerbach meets Space 1999, and it’s not easy to parse what it might mean o