EYES IN™ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk is live, once again, in Cannes, to cover the Cannes Film Festival and important events in and around the iconic city.
She likes to share with you the artist Li Chen, whose first exhibition in Cannes opens during the Cannes International Film Festival.
Ranked within the top 100 leading contemporary artists in 2014 according to ArtPrice, Li Chen has enjoyed a wide recognition for over 10 years. His work has been exhibited in a number of prestigious exhibitions throughout the world : New York, Chicago, Jerusalem, Copenhagen, Miami, Paris, London, Geneva, Shanghai,
Singapore, Seoul, to name but a few.
He also gained tremendous recognition for his monumental open air exhibitions such as his solo show at the Venice Biennale in 2007, in 2008 in Beijing, in 2009 at the Singapore Art Museum. In December 2011, « The Greatness of Spirit : Li Chen Premiere Sculpture Exhibition in Taiwan” at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei is the largest open air exhibition ever achieved in Asia. In 2012, he exhibits a series of out of the ordinary works under the name “Eternity and Commoner” at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle (USA). Finally, In September 2013, Annie Minet and Luc Merenda organised with Asia Art Center Li Chen’s premiere monumental
exhibition in France which displayed 12 sculptures of heights ranging from 3,5m to 10,5 meters in the famous Place Vendôme in Paris.
Li Chen’s work is timeless. His philosophical approach draws upon the past but is firmly rooted in the present and looks at the future with confidence. His figurative sculptures are inspired by ancient Taoist and Buddhist wisdom that he benevolently applies to the challenges of our modern life. His characters, peaceful, sometimes childish, kindly invite us to travel in a world where tenderness and wisdom help us make sense of this chaotic world.
Li Chen is represented in China by Asia Art Center and in Europe by Annie Minet & Luc Merenda.
Li Chen was born in 1963 in Yunlin, Taiwan, lives and works in Taipei and Shanghai in China. When Li Chen was first starting out and accepting projects from Buddhist shrines to produce traditional Buddha statues he studied the Buddhist and Taoist classics. However, the richness of his creative thinking led to him giving up that work and in the 1990s he began to focus on a career in art.
Li’s works, which appear both classical and modern,are infused with personal sentiment and modern spirit. They give viewers a sense of life harmony and encourage people to reflect on a great many things.
Li Chen first became interested in art at a very young age and at seven years old delighted in playing with a paint brush. As a child he loved lying on rocks and watching the clouds float across the sky, constantly changing shape as they moved. He was also fascinated by the old walls of homes and the irregular mottling on them and at night often used a light to reflect images of his hand against the wall, intrigued by the myriad shapes he could create.
At school, Li’s favorite subject was painting, which allowed his imagination to soar to new heights and
enabled him to escape the restrictions imposed by his parents. When he attended National Dajia Industrial Senior High School, Li studied arts and crafts and during his six years at junior and senior-high school was influenced by such important contemporary Taiwanese artists as Chen Hsin-wan, Cheng Chiung-ming, Lee Chin-hsiu and Huang Pu-ching.
Before joining Taiwan's mandatory military service, Li Chen took up a position in the workshop of renowned local sculptor Hsieh Tung-liang where he studied body sculpture. In 1987, a Buddhist monk bumped into Li Chen working in his studio and said to him: “Young man I used to paint a little myself, your realist work is really quite good, would you like to try and make a Buddha statue? I have a small Buddhist alter why not try your hand?” Li agreed right away and began to sculpt Buddhas.
It was not until later that he discovered sculpting Buddha was much harder than sculpting a person. His response was to throw himself heart and soul into the study of religious art and the Buddhist classics. He spent as much time as he could pursuing his own creative interests, but soon came to find sculpting Buddha statues too limiting. As a result, Li decided to focus on research. Only then he was finally able to
devote his full attention to creating art, making his artistic debut in 1999.
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