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  • Provenance


    Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zürich

  • Catalogue Essay


    Tianbing Li’s acclaimed series of portraits features a semi-idealized world of children that also serve as cutting social commentary.The black and white realism of Li’s brushwork is punctuated by random bursts of color and surface distortions, as if the canvas itself is a dream rippling into reality. Li’s children are in some instances genuine self-portraits; in others they are figments of the artist’s imagination, conjuring siblings that Li was never fortunate enough to have due to China’s one-child policy.Toys are another familiar motif in Li’s work, representing material possessions that he lacked as a child.
     
    The present lot perfectly encapsulates the artist’s longing for both familial companionship and material playthings: a child dressed in a sober robe, like a young monk or disciple, plays with a miniature version of himself. The work is tinged with magical realism that only renders the artist’s fundamental theme of desire all the more poignant:
     
    The theme of childhood vehicles the virtues of spontaneity (ziran) and that of availability. Everyone in China has seen this representation of the mature man, Lao Laizi, dressed as a child and playing in front of his very old parents to convince them that they are still young!...
     
    Li Tianbing seems to be telling us that to decide the character of an image is a nonstop negotiation process between those who can speak, building together a world of signs and sharing. Sharing the acceptation or the refusal, the taste or the distaste, of figures whose role and identity of each person is always redistributed. It is from this ambiguity of the image that figures play the role of love or hate, of social recognition as much as ostracism that constructs a visible economy of a very particular character that concerns us without really defining its real owners. Li Tianbing questions the opinions in the perspective that escapes the stakes, which are at times very dramatic between power and liberty. We have neither the idols, nor the icons but the images that have grieved over the body to let live the desire which is yet finding its way to express itself in words.
     
    Dr. E. Lincot, “LiTianbing with the Character of Portrait,”
    from kashyahildebrand.org

245

Enfant avec les Jouéx, #6

2006
Oil and ink on canvas.
63 x 51 in. (160 x 129.5 cm).

Signed “LiTianbing” lower right; signed, titled, and dated “Enfant avec les jouéx #6 LiTianbing 2006” in English and Chinese characters on the reverse.

Estimate
$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $103,000

Under the Influence

31 Mar 2008, 10am & 2pm
New York