(B. 1963)
Soothing Breezes Floating Clouds
signed 'Li Chen' in Pinyin (lower back)
bronze and stainless steel sculpture
58 x 93 x 164.5 cm. (22 7/8 x 36 5/8 x 64 3/4 in.)
edition 8/8
Executed in 2005
one seal of the artist
Asia Art Center, nergy of Emptiness, Li Chen in 52nd Venice Biennale, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007 (illustrated, on the front cover & pp. 173-177).
Asia Art Center, In Search of Spiritual Space, Li Chen Solo Exhibition at the National Art Musuem of China, Taipei, Taiwan, 2008 (illustrated, pp. 116-123).
Venice, Italy, 52nd Venice Biennale, Energy of Emptiness, 2007 (different sized version exhibited).

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Lot Essay

Soothing Breezes Floating Clouds (Lot 1528), executed in 2005, is one of Li Chen's representative works of the series "Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether"(2001). Oozed with the romantic feelings of immortals and poets, the sculpture recounts the phenomenal vision of "standing alone on heavenly mountain tops, floating unfettered on clouds." Li Chen has learnt from Buddhism "emptiness (kong)", and from Zhuangzi's philosophy "energy (qi)" - natural and transforms internally. He has also been inspired by the spiritual rhythm so well captured and manipulated in the traditional Buddhist figures. All these nurture significantly his unique deposition of lucidity and dormancy. His creations rarely depart from the modern sense of the moment, and have developed a new oriental spirit that differs from the traditional approaches, and that daringly comes into view, thereby renewing the Buddhist statues bequeathed over a thousand years ago, and fusing perfectly the tradition with the modern.
Specific for this sculpture, Li Chen has composed a poem wittily unveiling the vision implied-"Early dusk, looking out into the void, the red sun sets, driving away the gray smoke. In a supremely moving manner, his auspicious fan directs a remote breeze. In his heavenly world he peacefully melts the boundless illusions." The pure, innocent child of the sculpture is sitting at ease on a mountaintop at the edge of clouds. Liberated and carefree, he has a tranquil and delightful face, with an illusionary untainted temperament that is extraordinary appealing. Li Chen ingeniously gives special treatments to the artwork's physique, gesture and facial expression, imbuing the plumpish outlines with energetic tension and power. Moreover, he uses raw Chinese lacquer in ink black with a misty sheen to enrich the diversity of bronze finish. Hence the entire sculpture has both "heavy and light" effect, manifesting the uniqueness of Li Chen's artistic facet, and inviting the viewers to a serene and ideal spiritual realm.

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