London presents 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 Songsongs art and focuses on the essence of the artists 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 Songsongs 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 Li Songsong's art can be seen as a reflection of this 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 artists 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 include It's a Pity You Aren't Interested in Anything Else, a painting that revives one of Calvin Kleins 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.