Chen Li (b. 1963)
Float to Sukhavati
signed in Chinese; signed 'Li Chen' in Pinyin; numbered '3/8'; dated '2002' (engraved on upper right)
bronze scuplture
137 x 72.5 x 100.5 cm. (53 15/16 x 28 9/16 x 39 3/16 in.)
Edition 3/8
Executed in 2002
Asia Art Center, Greatness of Spirit: Li Chen Premiere Sculpture Exhibition in Taiwan, 2012 (different sized version illustrated, pp. 60, 72, 85-87, 121 & 123)
Singapore Art Museum, Li Chen : Mind( Body) Spirit , Li Chen Solo
Exhibition at Singapore Art Museum, Singapore,2009 (different sized version illustrated, pp. 16, 127, 133, 134, 139 & 140-143)
Asia Art Center, Li Chen : In Search of Spiritual Space 2008 Solo Exhibition at National Art Museum of China, Taipei, Taiwan, 2008 (different sized version illustrated, pp. 76-81 & 83)
Asia Art Center, Li Chen : Energy of Emptiness 2007 Solo Exhibition at 52nd International Art Exhibiton-La Biennale di Venezia, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007 (different sized version illustrated, pp. 144-147)
Asia Art Center, 1992-2002 Li Chen Sculpture , Taipei, Taiwan, 2004 (different sized version illustrated, pp. 95)
Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, Li Chen: In Search of Spiritual Space , 2008 (different sized version exhibited).
Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Li Chen : Mind(Body)Spirit , 2009 (different sized version exhibited).
Taipei, Taiwan, Greatness of Spirit: Li Chen Premiere Sculpture Exhibition in Taiwan , 2012 (different sized version exhibited).
Paris, France, Li Chen's Major Sculpture Solo Exhibition , 2013(different sized version exhibited).

Lot Essay

Float to Sukhavati (Lot 20) is an important creation of Li-Chen's series of Free Wandering Spirits . Amongst all of his artistic output, the power and gravitas exude from this work is unprecedented. After undertaking the 1998 - 2000 series Energy of Emptiness , Li Chen started to channel his energy into the subconscious. The hefty and tranquil work Float to Sukhavati emphasizes the materiality of the medium and the creative vocabulary. Moreover, it introduces the philosophically rich aspecsts of eastern ideologies into the contemporary sculpture form.
The concept of Yin and Yang, the positive and negative dualities, pervades the subject matter of Float to Sukhavati . Through the symbiotic relationship inherent in conflict, harmony is achieved. The characteristics of different materials are also manipulated to transform reality and emptiness. This masterful execution
thoroughly demonstrates how the creative arts can broaden the horizons of the viewers without literalising the subject matter. Li Chen uses the weighty and hard copper to represent the feathery light clouds. The peacefulness of the sleeper negates the heaviness of the black material.Between yin and yang, between emptiness and reality, flows the qi sculpture is clean and fresh, bearing similarities with standing in the snow under the bright full moon or looking at the reflection of blue sky and white clouds in the water. The artist has come to realise the inner soul of the object and understand the wisdom beyond the physical world. while his imagination is travelling in the sky, he brings to viewers a lively spirit of life.
Float to Sukhavati was completed in 2002. Li Chen once described this work: "Immortals art those who enjoy tranquility and freedom and forget where they are. Through the operation of nature, harmonious clouds can be naturally made to carry them. Following the way of nature, they always keep well." Southern Song artist Liang Kai was venerated throughout China and Japan for his work Pomo Sage (Fig. 1). The sage was completely delineated with minimal amount of brushstrokes. Such is the form of Li Chen's sculpture, a few simple strokes are more than enough to express the serene and placid state of being. Li Chen is familiar with tackling the contrasted relation between the lightness and heaviness of massive objects.

His works are full of fairy-like imagination, of children's innocence and amusement, and of carefree floating on the top of the clouds. Their appearences and gestures bring along a selfassuring and relaxing atmosphere. Clouds are so light yet safe enough to bring you anywhere you would like to go. When looking at his works, viewers unconsciously go on a spiritual journey. Along the way, their minds and hearts become crystal clear and eventually smile from within. The ideal spiritual world of Li Chen's works, the sense of humor and the broad internal transformation, as well as tranquility accomplish his unique style.


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