Li Gang

Inside China : L’Intérieur du Géant

The work of Li Gang (b. 1986, lives and works in Beijing) transforms materials from the art world, nature and everyday life: canvasses, plinths, stones, trees, money and pollution. The rapid development of his hometown Dali in Yunnan province prompted the artist to ally the contemporary condition with traditional craftsmanship.

In a series entitled End (2014)—homonymous with the word for “ink” in Mandarin—the artists siphoned soot from the exhaust pipes of idling cars and trucks to create ink blocks according to a traditional Chinese ink production method. He collected stones from around his studio and assembled them into hanging masses whose volumes and contours are determined by gravity. Working with artisans, he creates large-scale, rug-like canvases out of hemp that enlarge the textual grain of his paintings. Accumulating layers of oil paint in tactile shades of muted intensities, Li Gang recreates sections of paintings by other artists and still lives of his studio in peripheral view.