Artistic Evolution of Li Xioke

I was finally able to cross China Art Palace off my list of museum to visit after going last week. Located in the China Pavilion from the 2010 World Expo the museum holds the worlds largest collection of Chinese modern art. The museum was so large and contained so much modern art that I actually found the majority of my experience at China Art Palace overwhelming. After exploring the upper levels of the museum I wandered down to the ground floors where on a excluded floor I happened upon a large exhibition of work by the Chinese artist Li Xioke.

Li Xioke is a contemporary Chinese artist born in Beijing in 1944, and is the son of renowned Chinese traditional artist Li Karen. It is said that many of his works show traditional influences of his fathers art, but also integrates western artistic influences. For the majority of his artistic career he has traveled throughout China, (Tibet, Zhangjiajie, Yellow Mountain, Yellow River, Yangtze River) being influenced by the landscape and the people which he then features in his sketches, paintings and photographs. The works featured in this exhibit spanned from the 1970s to current works done in 2014.

The time line of Li Xioke’s career can be compared to the opening up of China to the west in 1980 as prior to 1980 his works depict traditional chines painting values and post 1980 his works begin to show western influences. All of Xioke’s early works are created using ink on paper and exclusively feature landscapes which are painted in great detail to show every aspect of the scenery. As his artistic career progresses post 1980 he begins to experiment with more westernized aspects of more abstracted perspective, photography and digital art. Additionally in his later works he begins to show more of a focus on human subjects. He begins including them in his landscapes, and creating portraits as well.

Climbing Tiandu Peak, Ink and Color on Paper, 1978

Climbing Tiandu Peak, Ink and Color on Paper, 1979

Snow Covered Road, Ink and color on paper, 2014

Snow Covered Road, Ink and color on paper, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two painting show the difference in the way he uses color in his early work as opposed to his more recent works. In the 1979 ink and color on paper the color is dispersed throughout the pieces but appears washed out in a typical Chinese painting fashion. In his more recent work he isolates the color to one area, using extremely vivid colors to draw the eye of the viewer.

Fenghuang County of Xiangxi, Ink on Paper, 2009

Fenghuang County of Xiangxi, Ink on Paper, 2009

 

This piece is one that represents the vast majority of his early works. In this painting the viewer can see far off into the distance displaying his attention to detail. Additionally in this work he draws stark, fine lines to create the out lines of his structures, such as the roofs of the buildings and the bridge. In his later works his lines take on amore hurried feel as they no long appear as fine. He begins to blur them together revealing a more abstracted take on the landscape.

Sketching of Maohe River, Ink on Paper, 2012

Sketching of Maohe River, Ink on Paper, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last pice shows his experimentation with silk screen and photography as well as his move away from landscape and towards portraits. This kind of art work is something that is extremely popular in the art scene in the contemporary art scene in the United States right now.

Tibetan Traces, Silk Screen, 2011

Tibetan Traces, Silk Screen, 2011

Li Xioke’s works are a great example of the what affects that the opening of China and collaboration with western societies might have had on Chinese art and the art market as a whole. Without the exposure to art movements in the west Xioke artistic evolution might never have happened in the way that it did.

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