02 Artists Zhang Yanzi, Jin Rilong, Meng Luding, Gu Liming, Sun Yongzeng

At 4:00 pm on April 25, “Crusader – Li Di Solo Exhibition” opened at the White Box Art Center, it showcases more than 130 pieces of works on paper which Li Di created between 2013 and 2014, demonstrating Li Di’s exploration of language and materials of drawing during the past two years which reflect his disinterment, expansion, and expression of the inner freedom.

Li Di graduated from the Department of Oil Painting, CAFA in 1986, and he pursuited his further study in Germany at Free Art Department, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig in 1990. In Germany, he specifically studied the relationship between western art development and modernism, and paid special attention to German art, especially the birth and inspiration of German modern art after the Second World War, which became the focus of his study and research.

He studied with leading German New Painting artists Professor HP Zimmer and Professor Walter Dahn, in 1996 he gained the reward of Meisterschüler of Fine Arts Braunschweig Germany. In the several exhibitions after he came home, Li Di had been consuming his personal experiences in his works, and trying to build a unique way to communicate his inner feelings and state with the world through drawing language, expressing the straight forward explanation with simple language, thus the form of art and spirit behind are blended together.

In the works included in this exhibition, Li Di paid more attention to the inner feelings and instincts, focusing on the origin of drawing. For him, the building of experiences and skills of drawing, and the process of deconstructing the existing inertial movements, to bring the artist a unique sort of reward and happiness, in this way, through the exhibition “Crusader”, we will have a comprehensive overview of Li Di’s effort, achievements, and to break through in art. This is also the reflection of Li Di’s working state as an artist over the past thirty years, gaining pure and unique language with relaxation and release.

My only working status is following my instincts

By Li Di

Some of the works in the portfolio “one” were created by hitting canvas with paint brush dipped in acrylic, from all directions, inward or outward, with both contingency and rational control. These powerful hits result in strokes which are completely different from conventional drawing, although many brushes were cracked, I finally gained the stimulation and excitement that I had expected for so long, and freshness too.

Both part “two” and part “three” were drawn with charcoal on card stock, I would call them artwork rather than sketches, maybe it’s been too long since I last drew with charcoal, when the black stick touches the paper and makes scratches which delivers from fingertip to the sense system in my brain, then fill the whole studio, the pain on the fingertip and palm was soon erased by happiness.

These groups of works on paper started between fall 2013 and late 2014. It’s been a long while since it last took such a long time to make drawings on card stock, I was excited, because it felt like I was returning back to instinct, nature, and soul, as well as the state that you can sense the subtle changes in nature, you let go to come to a whole new level. It lets out my imagination, and purifies the language, becoming an engine that constantly provides source and power. I found when the artist enters this sort of state, the size or material of the work is no longer the concern, the encounter and communication with spirit provides a proper method of drawing. Fearless, escaping with bare life, brightening, happiness, freedom, all of these words are the reasons and opportunities to chase and fall in love with art. Art is a special kind of sorcery that allows your spirit to rebirth, it comes from your heart, seeking for the starting point of my spirit with paint and brush, the more straight forward, simple and clear, the more free, real, and pure my breath becomes, this is what I get the most from this set of works. Usually when hypothesis, expectation, and objective is destroyed by straight forward, clear, and sincere expression, a unique piece of work is born, that is the magic of art. The establishment of experiences and skills and disruption of them during the process of creation to solve the problems they might bring, which is terrific to the artist, for this is usually when art finds the key to the door of the soul. Art is not created by humdrum addition, it’s a mixture of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, even sometimes my artworks are born with the multiplication after subtraction and division, addition is the most boring art making process.

In the end, no matter when, I prefer to trust my instincts, for it never lies.

Text by White Box Art Center

Photo by White Box Art Center, Chen Peihua/CAFA ART INFO

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