Red Gate Gallery is honored to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Li Jinguo called the “Gene, Bonsai and Forgotten” series that opens on July 1st, 2017. The show will continue until July 30th, 2017. Li Jinguo is inspired by using his own life experience and memories to create a distinct vitality in his works,
When I was a little boy, I used interesting materials I found to make my own toys. When I make art now, I still have the habit of making sculptures out of found objects, like billiard balls. These round, colorful, and numbered balls are assembled like expanded, tangible genetic material. By reconstructing what might seem to be obscure or ordinary objects, I can use them to make anything I want. Philosophically speaking, I think that God does not determine our lives – we do. Therefore, I choose what I want and what I want myself to look like through these abstract “genes”.
I made the Bonsai series according to the characteristics of resin. Resin turns from liquid to solid form under colder temperature, and transforms into crystal resin. In my artistic process, I drop ink into the resin while it is liquid, and then the ink diffuses into it. I freeze the material instantly so that the natural form of the ink will be preserved – just as if time has stopped as well. The Bonsai series represents two different conditions of sculpture: inside and outside, but both have a logical relationship in model, color, and meaning.
It is believed that bubble wrap can be unwrapped, but in this case it is not true. Like this, it always seems as if you forgot to open it. Similarly, our life is always in a blurred situation, which we do nothing about for many different reasons. We are either afraid to face these untouched situations, or we cannot face them at all.
When I am working, materiality matters the most to me. I also care about whether or not the working process can affect my emotions or even me bring unhappiness or negativity.
Recently, my mother sent me a red T-shirt given to her by a fortune-teller and urged me to wear it to ward off evil spirits. She received no education at all and is still illiterate. My mother’s parents and my mother’s three year-old brother failed to survive the Great Famine in the late 1950s. Only my mother, who was five years old, managed to survive with the help of distant relatives. My mother would always tell us about her hardships when we were young, of stories that were filled with loneliness and pain. However, she would also tell us a happy story. One night, she was cutting grass under moonlight, and suddenly saw a vision of an escort for the bride in the sky. She was delighted to watch the whole process. After that, an old man in the village told her that if she had seen something in the sky, she would be very lucky in the future. She has firmly believed in her own fortune ever since. I have listened time and time again to every single one of my mother’s stories, and even now, I am familiar with every detail of my mother’s stories as if they had happened to me.
This is my last exhibition of the year before I go to New York. In it, I have prepared sculptures into three themes: “Gene”, “Bonsai”, and “Forgotten”. They occupy different spaces and tell their stories in detail.