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Provenance : Property from an important New York based collection. Artwork was previously auctioned by Christie’s, 2008.
Height of the figure - 6ft
Born in Guilin, China in 1974, Li Tianbing studied at the Institute of International Relations in Beijing
before graduating in 2002 from the Ecole Supérieure Nationale desBeaux-Arts in Paris.
As Li Tianbing moved to Paris in 1996 to study art at Ecole des Beaux Arts, he continued to search for an
identity that was his own, travelling back and forth to his home country seeking to seize it better
through separation. Fusing both cultures, the artist incorporates traditional Chinese motifs into Western
forms of interpretation. On the one hand, the colour blue symbolising capitalism, nuances of black
based on Taoist philosophy, the use of text as another layer of meaning; on the other, the practice of
self-portrait, the use of oil on canvas, the importance of photography as a starting point and the
integration of colour.
Li Tianbing explores fiction and reality haunted by selected childhood memories in a suffocating society
and charged political setting. Using photographs as a medium to illustrate his reflections on the past and
his multicultural experiences, Li layers the present using oil painting in a timeless duality. Reflections on
loneliness are addressed in a symbolic fashion across Li’s art, reflecting his suffering instilled by the
single child policy. This state of confusion engulfs the artist and he loses the frontier between his own
authenticity and invention. The interpretation of his work incorporates personal identity and drama in a
tale with the infiltration of multicultural factors. His composition interweaves the contrasting themes of
China today: East and West, communism and capitalism, ancient culture and modern consumerism. A
recurrent fixity and absence lie in the children’s look: no expression can be read. He is considered as one
of the most critically acclaimed China-born artists of his generation. A selection of the exhibitions Li has
participated include: Today Art Museum, Beijing; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; National
Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China and Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Spain. The artist lives
and works in both Beijing and Paris.