White Space

Li Luming

21 Jul - 15 Sep 2007

© Li Luming "Seven Sisters"
2007, oil on canvas, 200 x 294 cm
"Des Kuenstlers Jugendzeit"

Opening: July 20th 2007, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Exhibition: July 21st – September 15th 2007

Li Luming’s pictures flicker and float before the eye as if they weren’t part of the real world. Yet, their motifs are as earthly and ostensibly real as their sources: Chinese artist Li Luming uses old photographs as a starting point and reconfigures familiar experiences of perception by conveying them into a new artistic medium. He creates large-sized, monochrome oil paintings – powerful pictures of the past.
In his work the artist, born in 1956 and now living in Beijing and Changsha, is especially concerned with the time of the Cultural Revolution in China: The time of his youth, from the mid-Sixties to the mid 1970’s, a time of epoch-making change and radical political and cultural transformation. And, above all, also a time of fundamental disruptions and incisions in the personal lives of innumberable people.

The artist not only shows us common icons of the Chinese picture-world. Li Luming’s works also consistently own something markedly personal, almost intimate. Memories emotionalise. A picture capturing a certain instant, an incident in the past, not only recalls this special moment, but also a multitude of feelings attached to it. But these are not our own memories. Li Luming allows us to dive into a world that is not ours. And he arouses our curiosity in what we see. Who are these people? What do they feel and think?
At the same time, his works retain a quality of fleeting and flowing, the fuzziness of a thought rising from afar – just like old black-and-white pictures, glimmering in an endless scope of silvery shades of grey. The documentary nature, the claim to objectivity of the photographic picture is undermined by the means of painting, blurred and alienated. Do we actually see something real here, something true? Or is it merely an illusion?
By looking at the past, the present, too, appears in a different light. Li Luming depicts the aura of transitoriness and of a cyclic time-structure in which things constantly change, in which hopes and dreams constantly flourish – and fail, while the underlying patterns seemingly stay the same...

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