Li Chen - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Taipei, Asia Art Center
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Asia Art Center, Through the Ages-Li Chen, Taipei, 2019, p.135 (detail of another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Every piece of work is like a child… Most of the pieces carry emotional attachment. They tell the story of my life.” Li Chen
    Quoted in Claire Turrell, “The Sixth Best-Selling Artist in the World: Li Chen”, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, 18 February 2015, online

    Born in Taiwan in 1963, Li Chen is known internationally for his monumental figurative sculptures informed by his deep commitment to Buddhist philosophy and Chinese literature. Considered as one of the most accomplished sculptors of his time in Asia, his works seek to enlighten people through his unique artistic vocabulary, evoking a sense of joy and happiness in his rotund and unusually whimsical figures.

    Executed in 2015 as part of the artist’s ongoing exploration of a yearning for inner freedom in the Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether series, the present lot Reverbearance showcases Li’s departure from his usual smooth and round surfaces for the body of the sculpture and into a soft and curvy shape reminiscent of waves of flowing water. Utilising the traditional technique of Chinese lacquering with gold leaf, Li employs multiple layers of gold gradients to evoke a colour that is very similar to the pure whisky that the artist is particularly fond of. To him, whisky is more than a favourite beverage and could be seen as “water of life” as in classical Gaelic language. Drawing a comparison between the essence of wine being as pure as the human spirit, Li goes on to explain his quest of finding spiritual freedom – “To celebrate the wine, and to lose oneself in intoxication; I savour my solitude and freedom between being fully awakened and drunk.” Similarly in the present work, with its rotund head and features that seem to carry a nonchalant attitude yet retain a sense of irreverent wisdom, Li explores this half-drunken state of ecstasy being closest to being unbounded in reality. Li masterfully strikes a balance between the heavy material used as the medium and the well-rounded harmony and lightness conveyed through its spiritual state, creating a piece that transcends time and space.

    Throughout his artistic career, Li has received prominent international recognition, exhibiting at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 as the first Chinese artist to hold an independent show and more recently, having had solo exhibitions at the Asia Art Center, Beijing (2019), the Aurora Museum in Shanghai (2018) and MOCA in Taipei (2017).



incised with the artist's name, seal and number ‘Li Chen [in Pinyin] 5/6’ on the reverse; further incised with the date '2015' lower back
85 x 51.5 x 30 cm. (33 1/2 x 20 1/4 x 11 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2015, this work is number 5 from an edition of 6 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Asia Art Center.

HK$850,000 - 1,250,000 

Sold for HK$1,312,500

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020