In 1996, when Li Lei began exploring Chinese abstract art in both practice and research, he sought to transform it—to combine the core concepts of Chinese culture with the international language of mature abstract art and create a path for abstract art in China. Today, he pioneers a new world of Eastern abstract art, reclaiming Chinese contemporary art from Western critics and dealers.
This book focuses on Li Lei’s abstract painting from 2006 to 2016, collecting more than 110 color illustrations, including new, unpublished paintings from his collection. Accompanying essays trace his inspirations, from his childhood in the vast landscapes of China’s northwest to the abstract art scene in Shanghai. Commentary by Chinese scholars speak to his vast influences, including the Western abstract art theory of Kandinsky, Chinese Buddhist and Daoist philosophy, and the traditional Chinese art forms of poetry and ink painting. The resulting work is an energetic blend of traditional and contemporary, as seen in his 2014 experiments in space integration art, taking spatial narrative, spatial expression, and spatial analysis as objectives of dramatic visual practice.
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