Li Yiwen’s paintings have a unique quality, one that makes palpable each thread and strand of their poetry. A pale ash grey mood; a quiet atmosphere; vast, empty spaces; cool, lonely architecture: they’re just like some past or present “no-man’s land.” These defamiliarized scenes starkly contrast with the ostentation and agitation of urban life.
The reason Li Yiwen chose this painterly language of psychological “displacement” comes from when, in the course of painting, the artist discovered he was gradually approaching the depths of contemporary art. He reflected on academic art, especially on how academic painting stresses drawing from nature within a framework of realism.
This is particularly true of the still overwhelmingly influential Soviet school of oil painting, which is not the true European realist tradition.
He realized that he must break away from these limitations and find a painting style suitable to display his self—a style and language composed of purity, tranquility, poetry, and strangeness.
Bachelor degree from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, majored in fresco, Beijing (CN)
Master degree from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, majored in fresco, Beijing (CN)