Ex­hibit uses Bud­dha to tran­scend time and space

Shanghai Daily - - WHAT’S ON - Wang Jie

HEAVY, yet sub­tle and light, is the im­pres­sion of Li Chen’s sculp­ture.

Li was born in 1963 in Tai­wan. His artis­tic prac­tice started from mak­ing a tra­di­tional Bud­dhist statue. Dur­ing the process, he kept study­ing clas­sics of Con­fu­cian­ism, Tao­ism and Bud­dhism, while at the same time im­bu­ing a con­tem­po­rary per­cep­tion into his prac­tice, lead­ing to a sig­na­ture style that in­cor­po­rates both East­ern charisma and West­ern sculp­tural lan­guage.

His first work made its de­but in 1999 in Taipei. Since then he has been an ac­tive fig­ure both at home and abroad, and this is his first solo ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai.

The high­light of the ex­hi­bi­tion goes to “Float to Sukha­vati,” a bronze statue. It is an im­por­tant cre­ation of his “Spir­i­tual Jour­ney through the Great Ether” se­ries, which was com­pleted in 2002.

The artist is adept at tack­ling the con­trasted re­la­tion be­tween the light­ness and heav­i­ness of mas­sive ob­jects.

He sim­pli­fies the im­age of Bud­dhist stat­ues and, at the same time, im­bues the emo­tions of a mun­dane life.

His works are full of fairy-like imag­i­na­tion, of chil­dren’s in­no­cence and amuse­ment, and of care­free float­ing on the top of the clouds.

Their looks and ges­tures give view­ers a self-as­sured and re­laxed feel, as if the clouds are so light yet safe to take them on a jour­ney to any­where they would like to go.

Tra­di­tional and mod­ern, East and West, past and present, ma­te­rial and spir­i­tual, empti­ness and re­al­ness, all these dual com­po­si­tions jux­ta­pose each other and yet unify un­der his sculp­tural hands.

Ob­vi­ously the artist is deeply in­trigued to ex­plore a realm brim­ming with con­flicts.

“I want to cre­ate an eter­nal beauty that tran­scends time and space loom­ing be­hind the uni­verse,” Li says.

All of Li’s sculp­tures are on dis­play on dif­fer­ent floors at the Au­rora Mu­seum through Jan­uary 27.

“Sur­pris­ingly Li’s sculp­tures are in har­mony with the col­lec­tion of the Au­rora Mu­seum here, as the at­mos­phere ra­di­ates from his works and echoes with those an­tiques,” says Xu Tian­jin, cu­ra­tor of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

The col­lec­tion of Bud­dhist stat­ues at Au­rora Mu­seum fea­tures Gand­hara-style casts and fig­ures with lo­cal cul­tural char­ac­ter­is­tics made dur­ing North­ern Wei, Sui and Tang dy­nas­ties (AD 386-907).

A time­line demon­strat­ing the dif­fer­ent styles and aes­thetic vi­sions dur­ing the devel­op­ment of Bud­dhist statue mak­ing in China could be clearly per­ceived.

Date: Through Jan­uary 27, 2019 (closed on Mon­days), 10am-4pm

Ad­dress: 2/F, No. 99 Fucheng Rd, Pudong New Area

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.