INK Studio is an art gallery based in Beijing. Its mission is to present Chinese experimental ink as a distinctive contribution to contemporary transnational art-making in a closely-curated exhibition program supported by in-depth critical analysis, scholarly exchange, bilingual publishing, and multimedia production. Representing more than 13 artists, including Bingyi, He Yunchang, Li Jin, Li Huasheng, Wang Dongling, Yang Jiechang, and Zheng Chongbin, the gallery exhibits works of diverse media, including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, and video. Since its inception in 2012, INK Studio has regularly appeared at art fairs such as the Armory Show (New York), Art Basel Hong Kong, and West Bund Art & Design (Shanghai) and placed works into major public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and M+, Hong Kong.
Li Jin: Flesh and Bone
22.03.19 - 12.05.19
Internationally acclaimed ink painter Li Jin (b. 1958, Tianjin) is best known for his lush depictions of consumption and sensory pleasures in contemporary China. But he began his career by turning away from the mundane world, sojourning in Tibet three times between 1985 and 1993 in pursuit of spiritual freedom and an authentic connection to nature. His encounter with Tibet’s culture and environment, including in particular witnessing a sky burial, profoundly shaped his pictorial language and approach to figuration, as well as his ideas of selfhood and corporeality. This experience lies at the very foundation of both his pleasure scenes and his more recent Being series of freehand monochrome ink paintings, which made their debut at INK studio in 2016.
Flesh and Bone uncovers for the first time the full story of how Li Jin became Li Jin. Organized both thematically and chronologically, the exhibition presents his early works from ca. 1978-98 in their dazzling stylistic innovativeness and range. These include his student-era portrait sketches, which subvert socialist realist dictates in the expressive nuances of brushwork; wash-based renditions of adepts suspended between embodiment and transcendence; elaborate fine-line drawings that paradoxically animate the body by dissecting it into ornaments; and scrolls with sullen, solitary eaters amidst spreads of uneaten food that anchor all his merrymakers in a melancholy awareness of themselves as part of an inescapable cycle of life and death. In Li Jin’s ambivalent vision of human existence, we are only flesh and bone and yet more than flesh and bone.
Red No.1-B1, Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing