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Li Songsong's Abstract on LEAP

Tangibles outweigh any abstractions that might have been promised in Li Songsong’s latest solo Show “Abstract” at Pace Beijing. Li Songsong’s trademark style of painting, an impasto of creamy pigment layered upon canvas as well as his signature content, a single photographic source spliced into juxtaposed fields of colours and canvas in an inchoate reconstruction of the original image find in its final object an overwhelming physicality. The texture presents itself so wrought and thick making it very difficult to imagine anything about the painting that is not already physically present. However, Li does not paint in a documentary mode. None of the works find in this new exhibition strive for historical nor representational accuracy. The informal and historical sources he applied for his images were manipulated systematically to create a new final object, a painted translation that is more parts cultural imaginary than fine arts facsimile. Contrary to his past works, where the investment in his historical source material was obvious, for “Abstract” Li turned to more vernaculars subjects for his paintings. Formally, his abstract paintings have stayed consistent to Li’s artistic style. Only it’s content has change to a more subtle. Li presents viewers with other ways of seeing the cultural imaginaries of modern china. Taking history as point of departure, reinventing moments whose experience Li inherited remaining inaccessible. Other await to be narrated.

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