Nov 06, 2023

Li Feng

CAI / Li Feng: Biography, Career Facts & Art Works / June 2023

Li Feng—born in 1969 in Jilin, China, residing and working in Henan, China—is a contemporary painter and poet best known for his striking works on canvas, working in acryl, oil, color powder, and mixed media techniques, often implementing collage in his painterly practice. Li Feng is occupied with the everyday, language, and the poetic ironies of life.

As a poet constructs ambiguity in meaning with words, Li Feng similarly constructs thought-provoking works encompassing a vast array of symbols—from everyday objects such as a bench, an egg box, or a drum kit, to the use of language in the form of text, an unfolded dice, or the structure of the periodic system. However, when depicted in Li Feng’s enigmatic pictures, these symbols seem to be marked by introspection, losing their prosaic character and entering existential realms. Through this rational and contemplative approach, the Chinese artist discusses notions of uncertainty and absurdity, the tangible and the elusive, or the material and the spiritual.

Reminiscent of Sigmar Polke, we encounter a stylistic heterogeneity in the experimentation of a wide range of materials, styles, and subjects, as the artist allows himself to shift from a stylized aesthetic to more academic painting strategies or from abstract patterns and a minimal approach to the vernacular and the bold—sometimes even within a single picture. Li Feng’s limitless skillset and creativity directly result from a lasting curiosity as the artist continues his quest for new pictorial strategies, possibilities, and limitations. By doing so, in every picture resides an uncanny complexity, even when they are deceivingly simple, in which new truths and illusions are uncovered.

After publishing his poetry collection titled Injured Apples (2016), the past decade of Li Feng’s oeuvre is marked by two simultaneous and ongoing series of works; Condense the Known (2015-2022) and B Movie (2014-2023). In the first, the artist pieces together glimpses and ambiguous cross-sections of reality, reflecting on Li Feng’s evolving perspective, experience, and understanding of the world surrounding us—focusing on everyday objects, entering forbidden territories, and thus finding new metaphysical realities, dissolving the distinction between truth and illusion.

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Every Day_2022
condense the known periodic table-3

In the latter, B Movie, we encounter an intimate and sensitive examination of life and phenomena surrounding us, in which he conveys personal feelings and intense emotions by challenging conventional notions—think of the pornographic elements, but also symbolic juxtapositions. Both series are marked by the artist’s innate passion for humanity and his poetic perspective on life.

The artist has received various honors and awards throughout his illustrious career. He was selected and exhibited in 2020 for the John Moores Painting Prize at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, China, before being included in the finalists’ exhibition of the 2022 John Moores Painting Prize at the Powerlong Art Museum in Shanghai, China. In 2013, the artist was selected as the Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition winner. Further, Li Feng has been selected three consecutive times—from 2009 to 2019—for the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in China, which only occurs every five years, exhibiting at the Ningbo Museum of Art, the Hebei Museum, and the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC).

Recent notable solo exhibitions include the Donghe Art Space in Zhengzhou, China; the Zheng Space in Xuzhou, China; the Xipi Art Gallery in Shangqiu, China; the Influencing Art Space in Kaifeng, China; and the Yisheng Space in Zhengzhou, China. In addition, Li Feng has participated in institutional group exhibitions at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, China; the China Art Museum in Shanghai, China; the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre in Suzhou, China; the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea; and many more.

The artist features in various national institutional art collections and has exhibited at renowned galleries in China and the United States of America. For more information and career facts, please consult Li Feng’s personal website here.