(b. 1958 in Tianjin, China)
Li Jin is one of China’s most exciting and unorthodox painters. A member of the so-called New Literati group, the Chinese ink painter focuses his figurative works on objects and scenes from the mundane. Indeed, he transforms the banal chores of everyday life into fragmented illusions of a fantastical world. Contrary to the usual bombardment of commercially ideal bodies, Li Jin exposes and celebrates the imperfections of the human form. Indeed, his uniquely playful style reveals itself through his charming depiction of tummy fat and people appearing embarrassed when using the restroom. Furthermore, he indulges in grand lifestyles filled with food and wine. For example, some of his paintings reveal the carnal desires of intoxicated people as they surround a banquet table and ravish not only heaps of meat but also voluptuous naked women and men.
It was in the 1990s when Li Jin developed his witty sense of visual humour. Although it might seem that he focuses merely on extravagant luxuries, most or all of his works always possessed spiritual undercurrents. Before embarking on his artistic journey, Li Jin travelled to Tibet in pursuit of how to live a truthful life and access humanity’s natural connection to nature. There, he began to ruminate deeply on the Tibetan culture and the transience of human existence. Diverging from the spiritual environment in Tibet, the liberalisation of China shifted the daily reality of people and inspired Li Jin to represent the boisterous experiences at home. Perhaps it is the stark contrast of lifestyles in Tibet and China that fuelled his inclination for exaggeration.
Li Jin graduated in 1983 from the Chinese Painting Department of the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, where he currently serves as Associate Professor. He was awarded Annual Ink Artist at the 2012 Award of Art China. In 2014, he was selected Artist of the Year by the authoritative publication L’OFFICIEL Art. Li Jin has mounted solo exhibitions in China and Australia, Germany, and the United States, among other countries. His works are in the collections of major institutions such as the National Art Museum of China; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Seattle Art Museum; and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.