LI CHEN (B.1963)
LI CHEN (B.1963)

Floating Heavenly Palace

Details
LI CHEN (B.1963)
Floating Heavenly Palace
signed in Chinese; signed Li Chen in Pinyin, numbered 6/8; dated 2007 (lower back)
bronze sculpture
129 x 62 x 41 cm. (50 3/4 x 24 3/8 x 16 1/8 in.)
edition 6/8
Executed in 2007
Literature
(Different sized version illustrated)
Asia Art Center, Li Chen : Energy of Emptiness 2007 Solo Exhibition at 52nd International Art Exhibiton-La Biennale di Venezia, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007 (illustrated, p. 203).
Singapore Art Museum, Li Chen : Mind.Body.Spirit, Li Chen Solo Exhibition at Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2009 (illustrated, cover & pp. 132137).
Asia Art Center, Greatness of Spirit: Li Chen Premiere Sculpture Exhibition in Taiwan, 2012 (illustrated, pp. 3839, 4849 & 96101).
Asia Art Center, Li Chen 2013 Place Vendome Premiere Exposition de sculpture a Paris, Paris, France, 2013 (illustrated, p. 17).
Exhibited
(different sized version exhibited)
Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Li Chen : Mind.Body.Spirit, 2009
Taipei, Taiwan, Greatness of Spirit: Li Chen Premiere Sculpture Exhibition in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 2011
Paris, France, Place Vendome, Li Chen's Major Sculpture Solo Exhibition, 2013

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Lot Essay

Executed in 2007, Floating Heavenly Palace (Lot 519), is a representative work from Li Chen. It was inspired from the poem "Partridge Sky" of Zhu Dunru from Song Dynasty. He laments over Zhu's unfortunate circumstance, that his talent would only be appreciate in modern times where different values coexist. In Floating Heavenly Palace, a figure holds the golden Palace of Jade Emperor with one finger, while standing on one foot on Taihu rock and one hand in the pocket. The gold is an allusion to the importance of the heavenly palace that signifies power. The arrogant bearing echoes Li's attitude towards fame and fortune, and Taihu rock is a common motif used in Chinese literati paintings, suggests Li's unshakable stances on morality and nobility.

The contrast between light and shadow, and the balanced play between the misty sheen of the black Chinese lacquer against the reflective stainless steel finish, is quintessentially of Li's signature style. The hefty and tranquil work heightens the materiality of the medium. The effect is a powerful juxtaposition between heaviness and lightness, mass and void, which is fundamentally a statement that invites the viewers towards a serene and spiritual meditation on Buddhist thoughts on "emptiness". This hefty and tranquil work heightens the materiality of the medium. It is a piece of salvation and self-purification. It exudes an exuberantly humane spirit and intimacy, with his childlike innocence and unambiguous joy aspiring to a spiritual art therapy in the midst of the alienating. Rarely departing from a modern design, Li's works carry an alluring new oriental spirit that renews our traditional approach in religious themes and bequeaths a fresh philosophical understanding of one's existence in the contemporary world.
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