Author: LI JIN 李津
Signed and dated: Painted in 2006
Final Price: RMB 1,800,000
2006 23 Chinese Paintings. Li Jin / P8-9 / Sichuan Fine Arts Publishing House
2015 The Sensory Life of the Mass：Li Jin’s art world / P52-53 / New Start Press
2015 The Sensory Life of the Mass：30 Years of Li Jin / P156-157 / Long Museum
titled and signed in Chinese, two seals
2015 The Sensory Life of the Mass：30 Years of Li Jin, Long Museum, Shang Hai
The reason why tradition is my "old dream lover" is that it is unrealistic and separated from our life, but it accompanies you like a shadow. In fact, many people think that the old is more than the new in my paintings. And my temperament, the person I really want to be in my heart and the artistic conception I pursue are closer to classical. I don’t like the contemporary lifestyle, architectural mode and environment. What I like is the Wei Jin style, which is more idyllic, natural, casual, even a little crazy. The art that comes and goes freely and seems to flow out is what I particularly like and want to pursue.
— Li Jin
As a foremost artist in the field of contemporary ink and wash paintings, Li Jin engages in artistic creations based on the personal experience, with a focus on the current daily life. Li Jin has been creating the series of works such as “natural instincts of man” since the 1990s. The artist uses individualistic artistic methods through the perfect combination of ink and wash painting and the social life to bring to life the contemporary expression and possibility of this traditional medium.
This Five-color Painting is a rare huge work by the artist, measuring 53 by 235cm. It shows Li Jin’s most representative theme, namely “the natural instincts of man”. Ten characters with different identities are arranged on the long scroll, interspersed with melons, fruits, gourmet food, plants, flowers, etc. Men and women of all types are presented – men with dropping eyelids and big noses, women clad in military uniforms and caps, women with glazed eyes, naked women with pets in the arms looking sideways at the viewer, etc. Such weird and humorous images seem “ugly” and “bizarre”, but are the characters in real life full of vitality. As the aesthetician Ye Lang put it, “As long as a natural object or a work of art has business, and as long as it expresses the vitality of the universe, an ugly thing can be loved by people. What is ugly can also become beautiful. Even, the uglier it is, the more beautiful it is.” The weird and exaggerated expressions shown in Li Jin’s paintings are in fact full of the artist’s honest and passionate attitude towards life. Li Jin brings “newness” and “interest” in the seemingly awkward painting style with innocent brushstrokes.
In terms of painting techniques and the use of colors, Li Jin stressed that the colors are used like the art of calligraphy. The objects and shapes are created while the form of calligraphy techniques is preserved. Whether it be the characters or food, the lines and the ink colors are created at one stretch to complement each other. In the career spanning several decades, Li Jin has given full rein to his feelings, retaining the techniques and interest of the traditional ink and wash paintings, and presenting the lively interest of the life. To present the free daily life scenarios, Li Jin shows his attention and insights into the life around him. This is exactly why the painter brings the “homely interest” to the figures in the paintings.
“Obsession, addiction and poverty are preferable for painting”. Li Jin’s sense of addiction, obsession, and poverty in the national instincts of man series are a kind of resonance between materials and self. These worldly themes convey a focus on life instincts and an insight into human nature. As the saying goes, “The distinction between elegance and vulgarity in the past and present is merely the difference in different times, and there is no boundary.” Li Jin practices “what is vulgar for the elegant”. His unique artistic creation shows rare sincerity and true colors.