Fine Art

Li Jin

China 1958

Fine Art

Li Jin
Li Jin
November 4, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Li Jin is one of the most important China’s traditional brush painters working today. He draws from the tradition of Chinese literati painting to create thoroughly contemporary works dealing with the banality of everyday life.

Li was born in Tianjin and he is one of the best-known and most unorthodox ink painters in the so-called New Literati group. Before his study in the Painting Department at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, Li trained in dyeing and weaving at the Tianjin Academy of Arts and Crafts, which partly explains his mastery of pattern and color.

He specialized ink-wash and gong-bi figure painting. Li’s signature expressionist facial features demonstrate his unparalleled brushwork skills. He gradually formed his uniquely playful style in the early 1990s, and is now famous for his seductive depictions of the good life. In contrast to the formality and stereotyped subjects of historical literati art – often derived from famous texts, pictures by earlier masters, or both – food and wine and the sample things in life are Li’s subject matter. The falstffian figure that appears repeatedly in his work is modeled on himself, and the flirtatious, enticing young women are artist’s ideal of female beauty. His paintings are populated with imperfect characters going about their daily life: eating, bathing, reading, even sitting on the toilet. Recent images emphasize the carnal desires of humanity through banquet tables heaving with meat and the voluptuous forms of the naked women and men that surround them.

In this time of a market economy, he centered himself in a life of consumption. He seemed in love with it and enjoyed it, sympathetically experienced it, but also ridiculed it. There were many women and feasts, joys, miseries, loves, sensual desires, and comedy in his paintings.  He kept the Bi-Mo tradition, painted in the way of traditional ink painters – tinted ink or color, drew fine lines, filled colors, and wielded his brush with facility and freedom. Although many New Literati painters introduce vernacular inscription in their paintings, Li Jin was especially audacious in inscribing the whole menu as a background for his painting holiday.

The universality of his themes and the humorous way in which he treats them has made Li Jin’s work immensely popular, and his profile has grown significantly since he began exhibiting in Sydney in 2000. He is currently teaching Chinese painting at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, which is one of the preeminent centers of current literati painting.

Li Jin lives and works in Tianjin, China.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Li Jin - MerrymakingGallery 100, TaipeiSolo
2014Jin LiCasa del Arte, ZurichSolo
2014Ink and the BodyInk Studio, BeijingGroup
2014The 1st Xinjiang International Arts BiennaleXinjiang International Arts Biennale, UrumqiGroup
2014Cross-Contextual Ink Art ExperienceHimalayas Art Museum (the former Zendai Museum of Modern Art) , ShanghaiGroup
2014Horse RidersGallery 100, TaipeiGroup
2013Li Jin - New WorkRay Hughes Gallery, Sydney, NSWSolo
2013Illution/Image: Contemporary Chinese Ink Arts Series IHive Center for Contemporary Art, BeijingGroup
2013Playing aroundGalerie 99, AschaffenburgGroup
2013Subtle InkGallery 100, TaipeiGroup
2012Li Jin - Today•BanquetToday Art Museum, BeijingSolo
2012Nine worksRay Hughes Gallery, Sydney, NSWSolo
2012The other ChinaMichael Goedhuis, LondonGroup
2011China InsightsGalerie 99, AschaffenburgGroup
2010Li Jin’s WorksKasten Gallery, Mannheim, GermanySolo
2010Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese TraditionMFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MAGroup
20100.4305555555555610 Jahre Galerie 99 / 16 Künstler - Galerie 99, AschaffenburgGroup
2009Li Jin’s ArtKunstram-Bernusstrabe, Frankfurt, GermanySolo
2009Related To The ContextFound Museum, BeijingGroup
2008Paintings by Li JinDittmar Gallery, Berlin, GermanySolo
2008Li Jin – Art ChangshaChangsha Wooden Slips Museum, Hunan, ChinaSolo
2007Li Jin: A Penchant for pleasureGoedhuis Contemporary, New York City, NYSolo
2007Li Jin - Struggle for EleganceGallery Artside, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2007Li jin - A Feast, Food & SexGallery Artside - SeoulSolo
2007Li Jin: Eat Drink Man WomanHaines Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
20077 Characters - New Art From ChinaThe Mayor Gallery, LondonGroup
2007Thinking allowed-The big drawing showRay Hughes Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2006Ink PaintingGalerie 99, Aschaffenburg, GermanySolo
2006Banquet - A Feast for the SensesPacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CAGroup
2006Body & Soul: Chinese Figure Painting of the 20th CenturyArt Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BCGroup
2005Eat Drink Man WomanTang Contemporary Art Gallery, Bangkok, ThailandSolo
2005Eat Drink Man WomanHaines, Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2005Simple Pleasure – Pasisng Time with Li JinAsian Art Options, SingaporeSolo
2005The Difference Between You and MeIan Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AustraliaSolo
2005The difference between you and meThe Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, VICGroup
2004Li Jin: New WorksCourtyard Gallery, BeijingSolo
2002Food, Sex and Human Nature: Li Jin’s WorksLi Dong Zai Gallery, Seoul, South KoreaSolo
2001Li Jin’s Show PaintingsRay Hughes Gallery, Sydney, AustraliaSolo
2000Li Jin’s Figurative Ink-Wash PaintingsStockholm Art Gallery, Stockholm, SwedenSolo