LI HUAYI (B. 1948)
LI HUAYI (B. 1948)

Rising Mountain

LI HUAYI (B. 1948)
Rising Mountain

Scroll, mounted and framed
Ink and colour on paper
136.5 x 67.5 cm. (53 ¾ x 26 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2006
Acquired directly from the artist, June 2006
Private collection, Hong Kong

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Amy Yang
Amy Yang

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Lot Essay

A sense of majesty and monumentality dominates the oeuvre of Li Huayi, who draws upon the age-old tradition of landscape paintings from the Northern Song dynasty while simultaneously taking it to a new stage. In Rising Mountain, Li takes the theoretical rationale of the abstract expressionists and the splashed-ink technique to create the towering mountainous forms that appear hauntingly disquiet. Li creates this effect by first spilling ink onto paper and letting the unpredictable ink make its own mark. The artist then gently guides the ink with a slight flick of the brush, resulting in a profoundly beautiful landscape characterised by striking mountainous forms, huge voids hanging in the air, and magnificent pine trees standing on top of weather-beaten cliffs.

The three meticulously drawn pine trees also highlight Li’s interest in Buddhist teachings, which was a result of his time studying 7th to 9th Century murals at the Dunhuang caves in the north-western region of China. Buddhist philosophy suggests an individual can transcend the physical world through an awareness of the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering and the non-self. Such meditative thoughts linger throughout the painting as the viewer’s eye moves from the three pine trees at the centre towards the two clusters below. As if taking the viewer on a journey of self-reflection, Li paints a personal and philosophical dialogue between man and nature - a dialogue that is intricately linked to many Chinese literati painters who came before him.

I am deeply enthralled by the sense of serenity that permeates Northern Song landscapes. They say landscape expresses one’s feelings, so the purity of the landscape paintings from that era reflects a pureness of heart, which is the most affective.
Li Huayi

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