Kohn Gallery announces representation of artist Li Hei Di

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Kohn Gallery announces representation of artist Li Hei Di
Li Hei Di in her West London studio. Courtesy of the artist.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Kohn Gallery announced the representation of London-based, Chinese artist Li Hei Di, who will hold her first solo exhibition with Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles in the Fall of 2023.

Li’s work sits on the precipice of desire, lingering around an “ambiguous state of infatuation” where bodies are fragmented and pulled back together in an organic synthesis of paint, revealing themselves winkingly to the viewer. The work prioritizes seduction over the act of sex itself; in essence, flux over finish. Without planning, her paintings unfurl in a kind of battleground between abstraction and figuration. Marks are made and then sacrificed into a new layer until the picture takes form. Time is captured in its true nature, “existing simultaneously in different layers of reality.”

“Li’s unique depiction of desire and sensuality is deeply rooted in film and gender theory,” says Joshua Friedman, Partner of Kohn Gallery. “Her unique interdisciplinary practice and tender use of metaphor reframes perceived desire and seduction. We are thrilled to welcome her distinctive voice to our program.”

Li’s body of work encompasses painting, sculpture, and performance, with the former described as skin and muscles, and the latter as bones. Drawing significantly from her interdisciplinary practice, Li finds inspiration from the compositions and colors of films by Fruit Chan, Tsui Hark, Lou Ye, and Wong Kar Wei; the literature of Wang Xiaobo and Haruki Marukami; as well as the gender defying oeuvres of Virginia Woolf, Paul B. Preciado, and Bell Hooks. At its genesis, Li roots her work in the pioneering video art of Bill Viola. As Li says, “my process in painting is a metaphor of the constant battle for acceptance. Not only to accept the rigid social, cultural, and sexual identities, but more to accept those inconvenient but very humanly sentiments as if to accept the way each stroke falls onto the canvas.”

Li Hei Di is a Chinese painter based in London. She received her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art and her BA(Hons) from Chelsea College of Arts and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Li Hei Di’s paintings capture desire, seduction, and flirtation in relation to sex, not solely the physical act but the ephemeral mating dance that occurs in its anticipation. Her work has been included in group exhibitions throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and China, such as In Defense of Secrets, Downs & Ross, New York; Phantasmata, Public Gallery, London; and Watch the Fire from the Shore, Linseed Projects, Shanghai, and her upcoming solo exhibition at Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, Fall 2023.

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