Li Xiangqun is the leading figure in China's art circle of contemporary sculpture. Having won major awards around the world repeatedly, his sculptures have been widely recognized for the sculpting techniques as well as the art taste.
The skillful sculpting techniques, the free control over the material language and the constant groundbreaking thinking have enabled Li Xiangqun to “handle complicated matters with ease” when working on sculptures—from the perspective of the artist, his techniques may seem to be free and relaxed, but his heart is nervous yet steadfast “as if treading on thin ice”; and from the perspective of the art works, the character modeling is in perfect composure, while the power behind the art works can touch people deeply in their hearts.
Sculpture is the art of space. It exists in the space, while granting the space its meaning. But what Li Xiangqun is pursuing in this exhibition is to transcend the general sense of sculpture art. On the one hand, all these art works are related to history, which has integrated the concept of time; on the other hand, presenting these works in the Forbidden City, a physical space with the special historical significance, has greatly expanded the connotation of the art works and that of the exhibition. What’s more, being a re-discussion on the relationship between sculptures and the space, the exhibition itself is an even grander piece of art work.
For example, the Great Forbidden City is the statue the artist has created for this physical architecture, which highly symbolizes Chinese history and culture. But obviously, the artist has adopted the approach of deconstruction to reconstruct the “Forbidden City”. “People nowadays cannot see the moon in ancient times while the current moon has shined over the ancient people.” Today we are unable to see the Forbidden City in the past, but today’s Forbidden City has heard the last lament of Chinese feudal dynasty. The function of the Forbidden City as “the imperial palace” has faded, but it is preserved in the history and captured in the artist’s sculpture. In “Four Representative Landscape Painters of Yuan Dynasty”and “Su Dongpo”, the artist has adopted the freehand approach to explore the current expression of the spirit of traditional Chinese literati... Collocating the formalized and materialized time in the Forbidden City, which is the witness of time, is a very rare and valuable behavior. By placing the “Forbidden City” that the artist has created, together with the “Forbidden City”, which now exists as a museum, and the symbols of the “Forbidden City”, the formalized time has been skillfully placed in the space which has witnesses the time. In this way, the artist provides a chance for the “Forbidden City” see “itself” and makes current visible for the history. Here, time and space reflect on each other, taking each other as its reciprocal object.
Li Xiangqun regards "raising questions and providing room for thinking" as the social responsibilities of contemporary artists. Sutter said that it was men who brought the “Nothingness” to the world. Because of the being of men, the significance of the world changed. When we narrow the scope of men down to the group of artists, the significance of the world will change in a more abundant and diverse way. Art makes a work an artwork and a man an artist. Because of art, being is disclosed and the history is revealed. As what art preserves is freedom，the history, the life and the thoughts preserved in art are all free. Art gets the living history indicated.
“Everyone can doubt the history”, then what on earth is the historical truth? What is the meaning of history? Artists are free to create art works with an unrestrained and vigorous style that brims with talent while the answer is also free so that the audience can interpret the intentions of artists. And this freedom has instigated art and facilitated artists and their art works. The Artist has no intention to provide a conclusion, but he is willing to arouse the possibility of more thinking by presenting his own thinking.