"History is right there. It doesn't matter what my attitude is. Painting is very personal but my source of inspiration has been public image. I can't confront such a tremendous source with one expression. But I can read and keep marks from my reading." - Li Songsong
Working from found images, Li Songsong takes an analytical approach to history, addressing the continuing resonance of the spectacle of the 20th Century through his painterly investigation of its imagery. 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. Gift I (Lot 246) was based on a historical photo of the Sino-Japanese War. It depicts a moment when the citizens in Chongqing borrowed the wreackage of a Japanese military aircraft back to the town centre. By manipulating the sepia and grey paint reminiscent of old photographs to form a highly textured surface, he deliberately blurs the line between mark-making and figuration. Li Songsong attempts to suppress the subjective role of the painter and instead takes a fully deconstructive approach to image-making, history, and representation.