Tale of Life

Li Shan

NEW YORK

December 2, 2006 – January 10, 2007

Reading (Lily Series)
2006
C-print
47 x 35 in (120 x 90 cm) each
Reading (Tomato Series)
2006
C-print
46 1/2 x 22 1/2 in (117 x  57 cm) each

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to present Li Shan’s Tale of Life opening on December 5, 2007. Through digitally altered photographs, Li Shan addresses man’s changing relationship with other life forms. He uses the simple idea of cell synthesis to embrace equality and harmony among all creatures. In this particular exhibition, Li Shan playfully synthesizes humans and flowers.

These works are examples of what Li Shan calls “biological art,” which fuses the latest advancements in biology with art. In the age of biological clones, genetic synthesis and transgenic biology, Li Shan became fascinated with the idea that all living creatures have more similarities than differences. He saw this idea realized in with Matthew Barney’s half-human, half-animal performance at the 1993 Venice Biennial. At that time, Li Shan was at the height of his Political Pop fame with his colorful Mao paintings that defined Chinese art of the 90s. He eventually realized its limitations and moved forward with the new ideology of biological art.

Li Shan has biologically engineered his own creatures since 1998 with combinations of creature and non-creature, insect and mammal, human and insect, and human and flower/vegetation. For example, he manipulatively combines his own human skin with that of a butterfly or fish. The works in this series ask viewers to suspend disbelief and to accept the idea that all creatures evolved from the same cell and can therefore genetically mutate. The trans-mutated creations are skillful and organic.

As biological technologies advance, so too will artistic experimentations with biology. In a way, this relationship parallels emerging digital technology and new media art forms. Li Shan’s biological art vacillates between science fiction and potential developments in biology. He leaves us to fantasize the reality of such creations.

*A catalog designed by the artist will be available.

2006年12月5日,前波画廊隆重推出李山《生命物语》作品展。通过用数码技术处理过的照片,艺术家李山阐释了人类同其他生命形式之间变化无常的关系。他运用细胞合成这一质朴的概念,来涵括一切受造之物之间的平等与和谐。在这个展览所展出的作品中,李山幽默地将人类与花卉进行了合成。

这些作品是李山所谓“生物艺术”的典型例证,即将生物学的最新进步与艺术相融合。在生物克隆、遗传合成以及基因改造的生物学时代,李山痴迷于所有有生命的造物间相似性大于差异性的观点。这种观念在1993年威尼斯双年展上马修·巴尼的半人半兽的行为表演中得以实现。政治波普艺术作品定义了九十年代的中国艺术,而当时李山正处在政治波普艺术的巅峰,因其有趣的毛泽东画像而闻名。但他最终认识到这种艺术形式的局限性,并且迅速转向生物艺术这一新的意识形态。

从1998年以来,李山一直从生物学的角度,用生物和非生物、昆虫和哺乳动物、人类和昆虫以及人类和花卉植物 等的结合来“制造”他自己的造物。例如,他将自己的皮肤和一只蝴蝶或鱼的外皮合成一体。在这个系列中的作品要求观众把怀疑搁置起来,接受一切生物都是从同样的细胞进化而来,因此能够发生遗传变异的观念。这些相互变异的生物是十分精巧而有机的。

随着生物技术的不断进步,艺术家的在生物学上的实验也不断发展。从某种程度上讲,这种关系同新兴的数码技术和新媒体艺术形式相呼应。李山的生物艺术在科幻小说和生物学的潜在发展之间不断游移。他让我们幻想着这种生物存在的真实性。

*前波画廊为此展览出版了展览图录。

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