Li Xiaofeng

To contemplate Li Xiaofeng's paintings is a way of reaching peace and tranquillity in a world we don't always understand. For Li Xiaofeng, art should be something that can offer our souls peace, not resistance. His paintings are not sermons or satires; they simply express harmony between man and nature. In his Flower Boys, the proportions between flowers and people are the reverse of those in reality, but they still convey a natural impression. Every flower and leaf forms its own little universe, in which the human sits, thoughtful, playful. Monks or hermits, naked and hairless, live in happiness and hopefulness in an idyllic, peaceful world, far from all the pain that visits us in reality. Their nudity and absence of hair prevents us from determining which era they live in: time stands still, and the quietness creates transcendence.

Li Xiaofeng studied traditional ink brush painting for ten years, following which he travelled to Europe in the early 90s and was active in the artistic circles of Prague, Paris and Amsterdam. After ten years, he returned to China. His technique has roots in both Eastern and Western traditions. The splendour and calm, balance and harmony are influenced by flower and bird paintings of the Song Dynasty, by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli and the Austrian Gustav Klimt.

1994's Summer Paradise is one of the exhibition's earliest works. Its inspiration comes from a summer day in a park in Amsterdam, where gay people move just as freely as anybody else, openly and visibly, enjoying the summer sun and fresh air. Li Xiaofeng has never made his sexual orientation a secret, and nor has it been a source of worry to him. In this respect, he is in accord with the mood of his paintings. As the Dutch art critic Jhim Lamoree commented: "[Li's] work gives us a sense of what it is like to be in harmony with oneself and one's surroundings."[1]

[1] The Ideal not the Reality, L.J Art Space, Beijing 2006.

Li Xiaofeng 李晓峰

1968: Born in Chengdu, Sichuan
1983-1986: Chengdu Art Academy, Sichuan
1986-1990: B.F.A. Art Institute, Tsinghua University