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Li Songsong solo exhibition
by Pace Hong Kong
Location: Pace Hong Kong
Artist(s): LI Songsong
Date: 28 Nov 2014 - 3 Jan 2015

"Li Songsongļ¼š "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."

Pace Hong Kong is honored to present artist Li Songsong’s first Hong Kong solo exhibition. After the resounding success of his 2013 solo exhibition We Have Betrayed the Revolution at Pace London, listed by the Huffington Post as one of the Top Ten Contemporary Art Exhibitions of the Year, this upcoming solo exhibition will present more of the artist’s latest sheet metal works and powerful, distinctive oil paintings.

Since 2003, Li Songsong has been developing a unique expressive technique marked by fragmented color fields and thick brushstrokes, and has now entered into a new creative phase. Li Songsong’s paintings contain recognizable images as well as directed spatiotemporal settings. In essence, the images in his paintings are images and photographs collected from mass media. These source images are reconstructed and deconstructed in a painstaking process that strips them of their clarity as visual signs, certain details generalized or omitted to transform the image into a form of cognition dependent on social and temporal background. This cognition is open, flexible and malleable. It belongs not only to the artist, but to every viewer as well, and is essentially different from the commentary that stems from a unitary perspective. In this process, deconstruction and reconstruction become a creative thread through which Li Songsong understands reality.

Li Songsong’s practice is in a certain sense unique. He begins by defining limited rectangular areas, and then divides the visual content of the image, but this process does not follow a particular order or set of steps. Instead, he unconsciously fragments and assembles the picture, sometimes on a canvas, and sometimes on an aluminum sheet. Within the layout of an image that once contained narrative content, the artist adds elements of disintegration, delay and difference. He does not complete his works within one unitary period of time, instead executing his creations in separate times, separate areas and with different color tones, a process in which the artist consciously dissolves his self-awareness in order to explore and express. Also worth noting is the thickness of the color fields. The brushstrokes, sometimes hesitant, sometimes halting, yet always solid, repeating, forceful and intentionally disconnected, seem to be alluding to a unique visual logic regarding smearing and depiction, concealment and re-creation. Forged through a process of dismantlement, smearing, stacking and rejoining, the concrete image evolves into a new direction that is neither figurative nor abstract, and not subject to the framing of concepts.

In his selection of subject matter, Li Songsong takes topics related to himself, which, when set against a backdrop of the connections between the individual and the group, as well as highly historic social events and circumstances, describe the artist’s subjective choices. These subjective choices are not limited to the perceptions of a particular nation or region but belong to a global context, forming contemporary information that blends historical cultural resources with open perspectives, notions of equal dialogue and an experimental spirit. This solo exhibition will start from 29 November 2014 till 3 January 2015.

About the Artist – Li Songsong

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.  

The internationally acclaimed image-maker 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.  

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