Flesh and Bone uncovers the full story Li Jin's artistic formation. The title refers not only to his preoccupation with the human body as subject and medium, but also to the interplay between line and non-line seminal in the classical ink tradition.
Beijing, Red No. 1-B1, Caochangdi, Chaoyang DistrictMap
Internationally acclaimed ink painter Li Jin (b. 1958, Tianjin) is best known for his lush depictions of consumption and sensory pleasures in contemporary China. But he began his career by turning away from the mundane world, sojourning in Tibet three times between 1985 and 1993 in pursuit of spiritual freedom and an authentic connection to nature. His encounter with Tibet’s culture and environment, including witnessing a sky burial, profoundly transformed his ideas about selfhood and corporeality as manifested in his pictorial language and approach to figuration. This experience lies at the very foundation of both his pleasure scenes and his more recent Being series of freehand monochrome ink paintings, which made their debut at INKstudio in 2016.
Flesh and Bone uncovers the full story Li Jin's artistic formation. The title refers not only to his preoccupation with the human body as subject and medium, but also to the interplay between line and non-line seminal in the classical ink tradition. The exhibition presents Li Jin’s early works, many never before exhibited, in their distinctiveness and stylistic range: student-era portraits that subvert socialist realist dictates through expressive nuance; renditions in washes and rubbings of adepts in a process of transfiguration; line drawings that estrange and animate the body by dissecting it into ornaments; and feasts that seem to trap sullen eaters in the cycle of life and death. In Li Jin's ambivalent vision of human existence, our only hope for transcendence lies paradoxically in the acknowledgement that we ultimately remain mere flesh and bone.