Solo exhibition explores Chinese philosophy and aesthetics

"Stone Creature — Morality and Justice," oil on canvas
“Stone Creature — Morality and Justice,” oil on canvas

Characterized by its vibrant colors, symbolic totem patterns and a touch of myth, artworks created by Li Zesong hold a place in interpreting Chinese philosophy and aesthetics.

"Panda No. 1," oil on canvas
“Panda No. 1,” oil on canvas

In his third solo exhibition, “Heroes and Paradise,” Li presents a series of paintings he has created over the past 10 years in four categories — “Black and White,” “Buddha,” “Totem” and “Childhood.”

In the “Buddha” and “Totem” series, visitors will be amused to see stone creatures and dragons become funny warriors in the clouds. With a red scarf tied around their heads, they wear the armor of “Morality” or “Justice” and are equipped with a spear of hatchet in hand.

"Dragon No. 1,"  oil on canvas
“Dragon No. 1,” oil on canvas

In contrast to the traditional role of a god to be worshiped, Li makes them look more like guardians of heaven sent to fight evil on Earth. Despite the scars on their faces and bodies, they are ready to protect humans to the end of civilization.

Born in Dali, Yunnan Province, Li says the ethnic traditions and mythology of his native town have given him the vision and imagination to create these works, where heaven is on Earth and everyone is the hero of his or her own life.

“Childhood” was created after Li became a father. The paintings have reconstructed a world of fantasy through the eyes of a child.

Li’s work often portrays a Chinese pavilion, a pine tree or a bright moon looming big on the horizon, and his tiny boy stands in the center of the canvas, waving his hands, trying to reach out to the world.

The latest “Black and White” series just made its debut at the Art Central Hong Kong in March. Inspired by the Chinese philosophy of tian ren he yi(the heaven and man become one), Li says he strives to find a balance in his works — a world that is full of conflicts.

Exhibition details

Date: Through June 28, 11:30am-7:30pm
Venue: Noeli Gallery
Address: G/F, Bldg 2, 165 Taiyuan Rd