(Chinese, born 1944)
Four hanging scrolls; ink on paper
Image (each): 11 ft. 11 3/4 in. × 56 1/8 in. (365 × 142.5 cm)
Lent by the artist
Rights and Reproduction:
© Li Huasheng
Not on view
Li’s transition to pure abstraction was abrupt: in 1998, after a long and successful career painting landscapes and figures, Li abandoned representation and began to produce grids like these. Li’s sudden renunciation of narrative content, subject matter, and autographic brushwork, as well as any wish to explain his artistic motivation, bespeaks an independent, even defiant personality in keeping with his career up to that point. Li’s grids are drawn freehand, and to execute such long, straight lines of consistent thickness demands extraordinary brush control and concentration. Li sees this painstaking process as an embodiment of time, like visual records of a meditative state.