Li Shan - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong

  • Exhibited

    Sao Paulo, 22nd International Biennal of Sao Paulo, Chinese Exhibition I – The Remaking of Mass Culture, 12 October – 11 December, 1994

  • Literature

    Exhibition Catalogue, 22nd International Biennal of Sao Paulo, Chinese Exhibition I – The Remaking of Mass Culture, Sao Paulo, 1994, n.p (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Li Shan is an important founding member of the Political Pop movement in contemporary Chinese art. In this lot, Young Mao which forms part of the artists Rogue series, the visual connotation transgresses the iconographic orthodoxy of the late Chinese leader as well as the socially defined gender representation in the China of the 1980s. Young Mao is also one of the only paintings done completely by hand with oil on canvas whereas a lot of the remaining works in his Rogue series were screenprinted and duplicated.
    "One might imagine (the artist's) goal being to arrive at a style that was more distinctly Chinese, although this was not entirely the case. Li Shan preferred to put personal experience before national interests. And dwelling upon this experience, the works entered a dark, heavy, almost deliberately obtuse phase. Had he stuck with landscape, he might plausibly have had an easier time in the early 1990s, but the ground breaking Rouge series, especially the Rouge-Mao works, would shock the orthodoxy into outrage, although they did indeed succeed in being hailed as representative of a distinctly Chinese avant-garde aesthetic. Li Shan decided that the abstract works had been too ambitious for the time, too loaded down with weighty philosophical ideals and pictorial elements that pertained to the aesthetics of traditional Chinese culture, yet still did not take him where he wanted to go. ‘I felt there was no way to go forward with western art,' he recalls. ‘I needed to work with my own culture....It wasn't until I began the Rouge series that I found my true personal expression.'"(K.Smith, Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China, Zurich, 1995, pp.238-239)


Rouge Series: Young Mao

Oil on canvas.
115 x 199 cm. (45 1/2 x 78 3/8 in).
Signed and dated ‘Li Shan [in Chinese and Pinyin] 1994'lower right. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £181,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm