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Happy. And the Art of Being.

Chen Li (b. 1971) lives in Yunnan, the southernmost province of China and an area of outstanding natural beauty. Chen Li creates unique landscapes and almost palpable sensations working with oil on linen canvas and woodcuts. His swirling lines and harmonious colours convey the magic of a still mountain top, the movement of the wind, the viscousness of heat. For him, it's about searching for and finding a feeling of deep happiness, and expressing it through his work.

His work incorporates the aesthetics of traditional ink painting and calligraphy into Western oil on canvas painting techniques. He is constantly experimenting with an intriguing synthesis of Chinese and Western traditions refracted through a deeply rooted Chinese philosophy, finding his own unique expression that is truly contemporary Chinese.

  Chen Li, Dongchuan Mountains II, 2012, oil on canvas, 90cm x 70cm, private collection, United Kingdom    

Chen Li, Dongchuan Mountains II, 2012, oil on canvas, 90cm x 70cm, private collection, United Kingdom

 

  Chen Li, Wild Mountain Landscape with a House and Creek, 2013, oil on canvas, 130cm x 97cm, private collection, United Kingdom    

Chen Li, Wild Mountain Landscape with a House and Creek, 2013, oil on canvas, 130cm x 97cm, private collection, United Kingdom

 

  Chen Li, Heat, 2005, woodcut print, 2004, 80cm x 55cm

Chen Li, Heat, 2005, woodcut print, 2004, 80cm x 55cm

As he writes in his diary:

“From childhood, I studied the theory of Chinese ink painting, calligraphy, poems, sketching, and colours. Now, I am trying to make sure that my own feeling and perception will help me to explore them… I have my personal standing point and cultural background. I want to combine both Western and Chinese techniques but it is difficult to do this on a deep level, maybe I will never fully succeed but I try … I will examine the field in which I exist and explore and find the new possibilities.” (Translated from Mandarin)

  Chen Li, Spring Mountain, 2012, oil on canvas, 50cm x 40cm, private collection, United States

Chen Li, Spring Mountain, 2012, oil on canvas, 50cm x 40cm, private collection, United States