Li Qing: BLOW-UP — at Almine Rech

Li Qing
Blow-Up
Almine Rech
Grosvenor Hill, Broadbent House, W1K3JH London
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Li Qing 35
Li Qing, BLOW-UP, Installation view, Almine Rech, London
Li Qing 46
Li Qing, BLOW-UP, Installation view, Almine Rech, London
Li Qing 23
Li Qing, BLOW-UP, Installation view, Almine Rech, London

Overrun with mysteries, fake news, innuendos and double meanings, Blow-Up is a visual wandering in which Li Qing, a leading figure of the new generation of Chinese artists born in the ’80s, confronts us with different ways of understanding, reading, decoding and interpreting the appearances of reality. From painting to installation, sound pieces to video and photography, his work is a verse of contemporary urban poetry engaging in a new logic of visuality. After his Hitchcockian exhibition Rear Windows at Fondazione Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai (2019), Blow-Up is a new drift inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s eponymous film. Blow-Up deals with notions of observation, storytelling and enigmas that permeate both the filmmaker’s and the artist’s work.

Li Qing’s work reflects on the contemporary aesthetics of the megacities that are changing at a considerable rate and the evolution of society through architectural alterations that are often closely related to human existence as an extension of our past experiences. In his emblematic Neighbor’s Window (2016–2019) — using the back of old window frames from buildings of the French concession in Shanghai that had been demolished — he elaborates on Leon Battista Alberti’s metaphorical definition of the painting as an “open window through which we can look at history”, through nested windows and multiple images that coexist and overlap.

His position is always that of the observer, that expresses his critiques through games or irony. Interaction has always been a key aspect of his work, which is utilized to unblock our mechanisms of vision, especially a vision steeped in the thrall of today’s post-digital era. Whether it is his Finding the Differences (2010–2019) or his Tetris Windows (2018–2019) series, he forces us to seek in the opposite direction of today’s frantic rhythms by wandering into the works, in order to relearn how to see and to construct our thinking. Blow-Up “is a way for me to deal with image information and real experience, to pay attention to sliced micro reality, starting from a subtle difference, a building’s window, a person’s residence, an image in the media or even a subtle expression. This kind of partial and segmented view of the world constitutes a part of the truth, and of how to be aware of the changes in reality”, he explains. [1]

[1] Extract from an ongoing interview with Jérôme Sans

– Jérôme Sans

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via press release, Almine Rech, London
Featured Image: Li Qing, BLOW-UP, Installation view, Almine Rech, London
All Images © the gallery and the artist(s)