(B. 1973)
Khmer Rouge
signed in Chinese; signed 'Li Song song' in Pinyin; dated '2006' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
130 x 279 cm. (51 1/8 x 109 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2006
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Brought to you by

Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

As one of China's best recognized young painters, Li Songsong has quickly built an international reputation through his sophisticated combination of sensuous painterly techniques and appropriated historical and political mass-media images. Unlike older generations of artists, for whom the tumultuous 20th Century were formative to their artistic identities, for Li's generation, this history was known mainly through mediated representations rather then through the stuff of personal experience.

Working from found images, Li takes an analytical approach to history, addressing the continuing resonance of the spectacle of the 20th Century through his painterly investigation of its imagery. Here Li depicts Khmer Rouge; Cambodia's controversial communist ruling party of the 1970s whose existence though documented is equally elusive. Walking along a field perhaps, the alternating figures of political officials and commoners form an eerie solemn line. We can only imagine where they are going to fulfill what agenda, one of the many of which still remain concealed by the surviving members of the Khmer Rouge. By manipulating the sepia and grey paint reminiscent of old photographs to form a highly textured surface, Li deliberately blurs the line between mark-making and figuration, subtly critiques the artifice of political spectacle and power.

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