Born 1973, Beijing, China
Lives and works in Beijing
Li Songsong is a history painter. Pictures from magazines, film clips, photographs of historical events; all images from the public realm, form the source of his work. Li Songsong is an artist who records moments of recent Chinese history in a dispassionate manner that is countered by the way in which he manipulates the painted surface with a vigorous impasto of paint marks on aluminium panels. His paintings are constructed in rectangular sections with each part painted separately. By juxtaposing these segments, Li concentrates formally on parts of the painting rather than the whole. Li Songsong chooses historical scenes and events that range from the time of China’s revolutionary war to the founding of the People’s Republic of China, he has utilised photographs of historical moments during the Cultural Revolution and images, readily recognizable to the Chinese as icons of the seat of power, such as the Conference Assembly Room or the Dome of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Li Songsong’s approach to his subject matter is one of the dispassionate chronicler. He offers no particular point of view or overt critique of his subjects but rather, in the manner of an archivist, presents the viewer with an image that he has studied in detail before painting it. But, despite all attempts at objectivity, Li Songsong is concerned with the intrinsic humanity that underpins all the images he appropriates and the memories they have the potential to bring to mind in his audience.