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"Li Songsong: Works 2001 - 2004"
2004-12-11 until 2005-01-30
China Art Archives and Warehouse
Beijing, , CN China

Li Songsong, a young artist in the 70s, has been in recent years investigating the relation between public images and their transposition onto canvas. In the shift to painting these pictures, which are mainly old photos related to historical characters and facts, he hasnít protracted the cognitive style as for some previous artistsí practice of criticizing, exposing, questioning, or satirizing and propagandizing about a certain historical period, but has used a kind of imagery enacting an objective approach. In other words, in the use of the historical image-material that interested him, Li Songsong hasnít made any seemingly solved judgment of the historical value, on the contrary it is just from a visual point of view that has to be sensed the objective, simple and direct power of history as shifted or transplanted onto canvas.

This transposition is not only providing us a renewed point of view in pondering historical memories, but also one of memories identification within an historical language context. Here emerge the artist of a young generation approaching the collective and personal memory of history, and together with it the discrepancy of an artist of a previous generation with a different behaviour and standpoint. This position at least to a greater extent decided to self-recount its actual state and depth, so for the observer to grasp a better understanding of the boundary relation between a public non-specific and actual historical image.

Inside this kind of gap, the characteristic language of big brush strokes and freehand style of oil painting is profusely seeks out certain new meanings and annotations of history, or else it provides the audience with a larger judicial space.

This thinking about the relation between photography and painting brings forth quite clear shades of a new historicism, not making history look like a truly existing objective whole, but a topographic map made up of different pieces of historical texts, that is to say that history is that of a certain culture being edificated in its articulation. This change in the concept of history indicates that the artistís representation of historical memories is not purely objective and neutral, but conceiving contemporary cognitions and experiences within its articulated structure; what it points out is not past but precisely contemporary. In other words, the artist by means of historical images is here re-narrating the recount of history and with the aid of narration we can get from the hazy mist of history a clearer image of ourselves, surveying the state of our own existence.

Photography is considered an art of reproduction, but recently different artists have been entailing a re-reproduction of this copy-craft through painting, an attitude that in China has already developed on big scale. By means of Li Songsongís solo show, what we are trying to do as curators is to deepen the analysis of this new trend; Whether the diverse kind of old photos are narrated within the expression trail of the artist and how, together with the narrative rules related to the forms of representation and the common practices within the different choices. Or reflect few main ways used by the artists of these years to comprehend and visualize history, thus the differences and similarities of those ways.


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