EX: 1/30/2012
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Galerie Urs Meile (Beijing)
2016.11.05 Sat - 2017.02.19 Sun
Opening Exhibition
T +86 (0) 10 64333393, F +86 (0) 10 64330203
Opening Hours
Tuesday to Sunday: 11:00 - 18:30
Zeng Jing, Executive Director Beijing

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Li Gang – Galerie Urs Meile
[Press Release]

Galerie Urs Meile is pleased to announce the opening of Li Gang, the fifth solo exhibition by Chinese artist Li Gang (b. 1986 in Dali, Yunnan Province, China). The exhibition’s works are divided into two main categories: paintings and installations. The entire exhibition revolves around ‘the aesthetics of imperfection’ as a tone and starting point. Through the true representation of unmodified original objects, an artistic practice that is dominated by the spirit of self-examination is highlighted.


Li Gang’s artistic practice originated in painting, and the painting language that he has developed is unique. It travels between the figurative and the abstract, and it hides the ontological point that the artist started from: a deep reflection on the existence of painting itself. In the Oil Painting series (Oil Painting, 2016, oil on hand-made canvas, 125 x 122 cm), the artist attempts to let painting return to its original form through the deconstruction and reconstruction of painting itself. This is to both discover new possibilities for drawing and also emphasize the composition of oil paint itself. Limited by neither creative theme nor approach, it is the main method of the artist’s long-term in-depth exploration of painting’s boundaries. Installation is the other language of Li Gang’s increasingly mature artistic expression. The installations in this exhibition are expressions of personal meaning against a background of real society. It is the artist presenting a subjective visual experience by actively observing and thinking as an individual in contemporary society.

The Gravity series (Gravity 6, 2016, jade bracelets, steel tubes, 350 x 91 x 75 cm) is about seeing and capturing male-female relationships within a population of migrants. The artist took full advantage of the properties of jade and steel and carefully welded them together. However, in this piece, he obfuscates the usual functional purpose of the materials, emphasizing that the two materials together constitute a unique aesthetic. Through the work, he has achieved his pursuit of a realistic means of metaphoric expression. In Dessert (2015, plaster, rebar, hair, discarded kettles and pots, 32 pcs, sizes vary from 43 x 30 x 30 cm to 85 x 78 x 78 cm), the artist collected hair from many migrant workers along with examples of their daily supplies. The hair was then mixed with gypsum plaster to form a hard composite material. The hair acts as a kind of metaphor for identity hidden within the work while also further emphasizing the presence of people. The work’s shape was taken from a dessert on a table; however, it looks more like a cluster of buildings. These unexpected material combinations reach not only a singular beauty, but an immediate reflection of the artist’s understanding of reality.

Installation work False or True (2014-2016, 220 x 122 x 122 cm (machine); 12 x 16 x 16 cm (sculpture 1); 16 x 23 x 17 cm (sculpture 2); 24 x 26 x 23 cm (sculpture 3); 19 x 25 x 15 cm (sculpture 4)) is an experimental work that explores aura and space. The artist uses mechanical principles to collect water from the air of the spaces. Water droplets that form from the air are collected by gypsum cement powder. They then solidify arbitrarily into different spatial sculptures according to the rate at which the water drips. This is how he achieves the visualization of auras. On the exhibition’s opening day, this machine, designed by the artist, will operate and create in real-time.

Li Gang was born in Dali, Yunnan Province in 1986 and studied oil painting at Yunnan Dali Academy in Dali, as well as art at the Department of Experimental Art of Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His recent exhibitions include: Inventing Ritual, Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum, Paris, France (2016); CONFRONTING ANITYA Oriental Experience in Contemporary Art, Gasometer Kulturzentrum, Liechtenstein (2016); and Inside China: L’Intérieur du Géant, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2014) which then toured to K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space in Hong Kong and chi K11 art museum in Shanghai in 2015. In addition, he also participated in influential biennials including The 6th Moscow Biennial (2015) and The 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art (2015).