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April 9, 2010

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Show for veteran of abstract art

FERGUSON Lane, an elegant space in Shanghai's former French Concession, is a charming place for leisurely lunch, but it also appeals to an artistic palate.

Leo Gallery in Ferguson Lane is holding a solo exhibition for Li Lei, executive director of Shanghai Art Museum, through June 6.

Li has been at the forefront of China's abstract art movement for more than two decades. In recent years he has held solo exhibitions in New York, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Li's seemingly effortless brushstrokes leave a soft yet vibrant imprint that resonates with viewers.

"There is an old saying - one thing goes smoothly, everything goes smoothly," says Li. "Painting is a process of communication with the universe and corresponding to the rules of the universe. The artist's goal is to enter a state that enables his body and soul to be free."

His strokes through irregular, floating geometric forms evoke emptiness but also stir the imagination.

"Many say my paintings have a strong personal flavor," Li says. "You can call it minimalism. When I am painting, I try to escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

"I don't like to add certain concrete meanings or content into my works. For me, it is an enjoyment of lines and colors," he says.

In addition to being executive director of Shanghai Art Museum, Li is deputy president of the Shanghai Youth Literature and Art League and a member of the Executive Council of the China Artists Association.

Despite his many responsibilities, he has never given up his passion for creating art.

"I really strike a good balance between work and painting," says Li. "Painting is so important for me that I give up other after-work entertainments. Sometimes I'm even amazed at myself."

Date: through June 6 (closed on Mondays), 11am-9pm

Address: 376 Wukang Rd

Tel: 5465-8785


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