Boundary within Boundary: Energy of Emptiness
1998 - 2000
With Li Chen’s re-presentational approach, the Buddhist statues display an almost ascetic aesthetic based on an acceptance of nature. Despite this natural simplicity the works in this period were also replete with a great energy. In this way, the work themselves are simultaneously emotionally introspective but also defined by extreme vitality. For example, the pieces “Pure Land” and “Avalokitesvara” clearly intend to take statues of Buddha or Bodhisattva back to infanthood or childhood. In this context, the artist seems to subscribe to the philosophical ideas and aesthetic of being “like a child” in the thought of Laozi and Zhuangzi (“Laozi” chapter 55).
The sublime faces and powerful physical types created by Li ensure that his Buddha or Bodhisattva statues appear “simultaneously light and heavy.” In terms of stylistic analogies, this sense of aesthetics transcends the style of both Song and Tang dynasties and is in many ways closer to the bearing of a deity and romantic charm of the Buddhist statues of the Six Dynasties period.
Reference: Chia Chi Jason Wang, Like a Child in CANS Art News, Dec. 1992
The Egret's Spring
All in One
Travel through Time and Space