“Of utmost importance is to free the spirit. You know freedom? It is the reality that seems very unreal; it is the soul without preset values; it is the lazy dude not playing any specific role.” -Li Lei
In total 13 oil paintings to be exhibited are selected from the series “Tempestuous Waters”, “Amongst the Ultimate Deep”, “Flow Between Heaven and Ocean” and “Autumn Colours”, in which “water” has marked significance. Over thousands of years, water has been highly praised by Chinese philosophers and literati for the virtues it symbolizes. Elaborating on his statement “The highest good is like that of water”, Laozi explained that “its form not fixed, water thus can place itself in the narrowest space”. It is the flowing water in a river that inspired the idea of dual nature of heaven and earth being “abiding” and “ever-changing” in Su Shi’s prose My First Visit to the Red Cliff. With profound insight in traditional Chinese culture and philosophy and after ceaseless inspection of life and nature, artist finally expressed the resulting impression on his soul with the aid of Western abstract expression, painting his inner universe with unbridled strokes on large canvases. Li Lei, with all these inspirations but decided to return to the primal and simple and depart from traditions and roles assumed by the society, eventually took on the path unbounded by forms, symbols and even meanings. He would liberate his inner self with the colour brush in his hand, so as to “rediscover himself through art”.
Li stresses the power of art. Imbued with vigorous emotions in their full impact, his life experience is transfused into his paintings that are composed with equally powerful lines and colours. He chose art as a way of self-cultivation, while his artworks are an honest record of his spiritual adventure in pursuit of liberation. In the clean and commodious exhibition space at Leo Gallery, audience will find himself immersed in the infinite world spawned from the artist’s unrestrained spirit.