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November 6, 2018

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Exhibit uses Buddha to transcend time and space

HEAVY, yet subtle and light, is the impression of Li Chen’s sculpture.

Li was born in 1963 in Taiwan. His artistic practice started from making a traditional Buddhist statue. During the process, he kept studying classics of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, while at the same time imbuing a contemporary perception into his practice, leading to a signature style that incorporates both Eastern charisma and Western sculptural language.

His first work made its debut in 1999 in Taipei. Since then he has been an active figure both at home and abroad, and this is his first solo exhibition in Shanghai.

The highlight of the exhibition goes to “Float to Sukhavati,” a bronze statue. It is an important creation of his “Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether” series, which was completed in 2002.

The artist is adept at tackling the contrasted relation between the lightness and heaviness of massive objects.

He simplifies the image of Buddhist statues and, at the same time, imbues the emotions of a mundane life.

His works are full of fairy-like imagination, of children’s innocence and amusement, and of carefree floating on the top of the clouds.

Their looks and gestures give viewers a self-assured and relaxed feel, as if the clouds are so light yet safe to take them on a journey to anywhere they would like to go.

Traditional and modern, East and West, past and present, material and spiritual, emptiness and realness, all these dual compositions juxtapose each other and yet unify under his sculptural hands.

Obviously the artist is deeply intrigued to explore a realm brimming with conflicts.

“I want to create an eternal beauty that transcends time and space looming behind the universe,” Li says.

All of Li’s sculptures are on display on different floors at the Aurora Museum through January 27.

“Surprisingly Li’s sculptures are in harmony with the collection of the Aurora Museum here, as the atmosphere radiates from his works and echoes with those antiques,” says Xu Tianjin, curator of the exhibition.

The collection of Buddhist statues at Aurora Museum features Gandhara-style casts and figures with local cultural characteristics made during Northern Wei, Sui and Tang dynasties (AD 386-907).

A timeline demonstrating the different styles and aesthetic visions during the development of Buddhist statue making in China could be clearly perceived.


Date: Through January 27, 2019 (closed on Mondays), 10am-4pm

Address: 2/F, No. 99 Fucheng Rd, Pudong New Area


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