IN SEARCH OF HARMONY: YUNNAN VISIONARIES CHEN LI & GAO XIANG
A unique opportunity to see two exceptional talents from Yunnan in the centre of London, to feel the harmony and to raise your spirits.
Harmony is hard to come by. One place that seems to get it right is China’s frontier Yunnan Province. Once so isolated that even Chinese visitors experienced culture shock, Yunnan transformed within the span of a single lifetime into a hub of artistic expression and a place where past, present, and over 40 million people and numerous ethnic minorities – each with their own belief systems, language, and customs – co-exist in peace.
Balancing prestigious universities, luxury shopping centres and steel-and-glass highrises with traditional wooden houses, ancient Buddhist temples, and 19th century Christian churches, Yunnan’s capital, Kunming, is a study in contradictions whose imperfect balance demands continuous recalibration.
Rising to the task is Kunming’s vibrant artistic community for many of whom the region’s stunning natural landscape, Buddhist philosophy, and distance from the centres of politics inspires a more introspective expression.
Among them are Chen Li and Gao Xiang – two childhood friends with compelling and very different perspectives to harmony and balance.
Chen Li is inspired by nature. His work is intuitive, full of emotion, rendered in a style best described as dynamic harmony, combining freedom of movement with a deep sense of peace. A dual master of oil painting and a unique Chinese woodblock printing technique perfected in Yunnan, his work was acquired and exhibited by The British Museum as an exceptional example of Chinese modern art.
Gao Xiang is inspired by history and mythology. Conceptual yet full of soul, he questions opposites, finding balance in duality – past and present, dreams and reality, the perception of truth. A multi-disciplinary artist, he speaks through symbols where the image of a horse plays a prominent role. His works are exhibited by leading museums in Asia and Europe and commissioned by the Grand Palais in Paris.
The exhibition features a selection of artworks by Gao Xiang and Chen Li, side-by-side for the first time since we curated solo shows for each artist.
From our Visitor's Book:
"When I see his paintings, I know everything will be ok"
(Chen Li solo show, 2019)
"So Beautiful. The horses look as if they have souls"
(Gao Xiang solo show, 2017)
- Katrine Levin
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