PACE BEIJING is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Li Songsong. This will be the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery in China.
The internationally acclaimed image-maker has taken forays into abstraction and installation before, but never one quite so extreme as the single piece that will constitute the entirety of this exhibition. With this work, Li Songsong literally inverts his signature impasto oil on aluminum medium, turning the traditional structure inside out. He will create a large, exposed metal tunnel internally lined with his characteristically thick color grids of undulating shades. However, instead of dismantling and reconstructing found imagery from historic and often politically charged photographs, the artist has chosen to depict nothing. There is a lack of imagery and an absence of figuration with which viewers must grapple to construct their own experiential meaning. The installation is in no way instructive or didactic, but merely illuminates a suggested passage through an imageless tunnel. Each entry and viewing is a unique iteration of the structure’s conceptual possibility.
Li Songsong built this installation one section at a time, subdividing the structure into methodically painted rectangular pieces. He does not provide a readily accessible narrative, as the artist presents the possibility for viewers to discover dimension through other means. Those who enter the space must confront its pervasive emptiness, and from there explore its internal depths. The passage of the audience through a tunnel can be seen as an experience of perceptual rebirth, perhaps for the viewers, perhaps for the artist himself. Li Songsong offers us no instructions or commentary, but rather invites us to face the challenge of deriving unique personal meaning from our journey through the installation.
Li Songsong was born in Beijing in 1973. He graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1992 and received a B.F.A in oil painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. The artist has been included in numerous international exhibitions at institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; MoMA PS1, New York; the Saatchi Gallery, London; Ullens Center, Beijing; the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum; the Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; and the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany. His work was included in Through the Looking Glass, a special project for the 2007 Moscow Biennale. Li Songsong was the recipient of the 2011 Martell Artists of the Year Award. He lives and works in Beijing, China.