Li Songsong (b. 1973, Beijing) graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1992 before going on to receive his BFA in oil painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. After he graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1992, he went on to receive his B.F.A in oil painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. He has since been the focus of many publications and international exhibitions. Li Songsong joined the Gallery in 2010. The artist currently lives and works in Beijing.
6 Burlington Gardens – ground floor gallery
19 September – 9 November 2013
Opening: Wednesday 18 September 2013, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Pace London is delighted to present an exhibition of new paintings by the Chinese artist Li Songsong from 19 September to 9 November 2013, at 6 Burlington Gardens. This is the first solo-exhibition by the artist in London.
The show provides a comprehensive view of Li Songsong’s art and focuses on the essence of the artist’s technique and painting process. The works on view embody the rapid social-cultural transformation and the ever-changing reality of Chinese society.
These works portray historical figures and events that play part in the Chinese collective consciousness and while at times political in content, the emphasis is not on political issues. The political connotation in Li Songsong’s art resists any superficial interpretation awaiting the subjective viewpoint of its audience, hiding deeply beneath the dense surface of the painting. Politics has become China's everyday experience and common environment and LiSongsong's art can be seen as areflection ofthis specific reality.
Beginning with a found image sourced from the media such as newspapers, magazines, or the internet, Li Songsong reconstructs it square by square building layers of paint. This thick application of paint pushes the work to abstraction, and alters the significance of the image the artist has appropriated at this stage. This technique can be viewed as a reflection of the artist’s attitude towards realism. By working on specific units of the canvas rather than on the whole composition, the artist keeps a distance from the visible story rather focusing on specific details that make the image. The intention of these works is not to provide an easy explanation through narration, but to represent the essence, ambiguities, and changes to historical memory as time continues.
“Everyone knows the story. The important thing is the way that you tell it. The way depends on your attitude, and attitude changes with time. As society changes, attitude changes accordingly.” Li Songsong, July 2013.
Highlights of the exhibition includeIt's a Pity You Aren't Interested in Anything Else, a painting that revives one of Calvin Klein’s advertising images, one prevalent in China. The popularity of western fashion labels in China testifies to the penetration of ideologies and visions of the world that were once controversial.
A catalogue featuring two essays by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, and the art critic and essayist Demetrio Paparoni will accompany the exhibition.
Critic Stephen Knudsen of the Huffington Post recently listed Li Songsong’s solo exhibition at Pace London in his “Top Ten Contemporary Art Exhibits in 2013.” The list also includes James Turrell at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Pace London’s exhibition reaffirmed Li Songsong as one of the most important artists in Beijing today. The work addresses both past and present by referencing collective memories of the Chinese people that have relevance in today’s political climate.
Li Songsong explains the ideas and inspirations behind his exhibition We Have Betrayed the Revolution, on view at Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens until 9th November. Click here to watch the video.
Demetrio Paparoni, Ai Weiwei, and Li Songsong
2013. Pace London. Hardcover
51 pages: color illustrations