Mathilde HK AT li Jin selling exhibition – Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Do you like Chinese Contemporary Art?

You are interested in Paintings and Inks on Paper?

You are interested in hedonists artists who enjoy life and provocation?


Li Jin, Feast No. 6, part of the Shuimo / Water Ink, 2013

Exhibited at Sotheby’s in 2013, picture@sotheby’

Until Novembre 5, Sotheby’s Hong Kong displays Li Jin Paintings and very first sculptures. Who is Li Jin? Li Jin is a Chinese painter from Tianjin, where he is currently teaching Classic Chinese Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Born in 1958, the artist was part of the ‘New Literati painting movement’ around 1990, tracing its roots back to the Song Dynasty classic painters, very inspired by poetic and scholars. Sothebys concentrated on the very last works created by the painter in summer 2014. Prices for his pieces varied from 600,000 to 1 million HDK. I heard about that selling exhibition by a friend.


The Dance of Life (detail) 2014, Ink and color on paper, 180 x 98 cm,

The inks by Li Jin began to be famous 20 years ago, for their colorful tons and their exuberant figures, in Mainland China and Asia, from Beijing to Bangkok. Joy, Pleasure and Hedonism are present in each of his works. Li JIn definitely enjoys life and makes fun of it. The painter often depicts himself under the figure of a monk, a policeman, a dancer or a pig. The background of the inks are decorated with Chinese calligraphy, ironically in adequation with the thematic of the painting.

Auto-portraits, Genre scenes and Still-lifes by Li Jin  were  influenced by classic Chinese paintings, as the artist explains it in a video. Among the  28 pieces on display at Sotheby’s, the pictures I liked the most were the many still-lifes about food and Chinese  traditional street dishes, such as the following Seafood Banquet.

R0005HK0548_7PGKR V3

Li Jin, Seafood Banquet, 2014, inscribed and signed LI JIN
ink and colour on paper, 53 by 230 cm., 21 by 90 1/2 in.

‘In contrast to the gravitas of the inscription and image relationship in traditional literati paintings, the casualness of text inscribed in Li Jin’s works is a refreshing interpretation of convention. Words are often lifted out of context, omitted, or modified, and then spill into the picture to become key composition elements that create new meaning altogether.

In Seafood Banquet, the grandiose and highly political poetry by Mao Zedong is interspersed between delectable seafood delights. The reasons for such words to pervade the painting could be that he was raised in a family where Mao’s poems were often recited or that he happened to peruse a Mao anthology of his triumphs and tribulations after having a lavish feast one evening. In any case, the ambiguous juxtaposition renders the seriousness of the words into festivity. Li Jin’s re-appropriation of text is less intended to focus on literal meaning than meant to capture a moment of indiscriminate spontaneity—an essential quality of the literati espousal of self-expression.’

Topics and Keywords:

Solo: Themes and Topics to focus on in that exhibition

Literati painters, Chinese contemporary Art, Paintings, Inks on paper, Sculpture, Fine Arts. Sotheby’s, Selling Exhibition.

Combo: On the same topic:

New Literati painters, Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing

The Roots of Pleasure — The Paintings and Sculpture of Li Jin

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, 5/F One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway

Monday to Friday: 10am – 6pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s