Pi Li

  • Chen Zhen, Le Rite suspendu/mouillé (The Suspended Rite/Wet), 1991, metal, wood, glass, Plexiglas, acrylic, pigment powder, water, found objects, 9' 2 1/4" × 26' 3" × 22' 11 5/8". © ADAGP, Paris.

    Chen Zhen

    Curated by Vicente Todolí

    Chen Zhen was a pioneer of abstract painting in his native Shanghai in the years following the Cultural Revolution. He moved to France in 1986, at the age of thirty-one, and became an inspiration to other members of the Chinese contemporary art community; Huang Yong Ping, Shen Yuan, Yang Jiechang, and Wang Du all relocated to Paris in the following years. During his short life—he died at the age of forty-five—he developed a unique and sophisticated language through large installations in which he uses personal experience to address cultural difference, universality, and

  • Lee Mingwei, The Letter Writing Project, 1998/2014, wooden booths, writing paper, envelopes. Installation view, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Photo: Yoshitsugu Fuminari.

    Pi Li

    1 LEE MINGWEI (MORI ART MUSEUM, TOKYO; CURATED BY MAMI KATAOKA) Lee’s survey at the Mori Art Museum included fifteen works made since the mid-1990s. Most were incomplete when the show opened but were extensively enriched by visitors’ participation. While the meticulously designed structures, instruments, and rules were impressive, what was truly poignant was the warmth with which the works engaged each passerby. Lee creates immersive spaces paradoxically tailored for one-on-one encounters between artworks and individual viewers, a welcome contrast to the communal platitudes of relational

  • Pi Li

    PERHAPS IN PLACES WITH LONGER HISTORIES, history is more easily cast aside. Two socialist traditions, those of Mao Zedong and of Lenin, held different ideas about cultural revolution and history: Mao believed that a thorough destruction of the old culture was necessary in order to usher in the new, while Lenin saw new culture as a “valuable” layer to be added to existing traditions. Mao’s philosophy of culture has seeped into the Chinese cultural unconscious, particularly its contemporary manifestation. After “revolution” is achieved, all that is left is to build monuments from scratch. And so