Li Shan  (Chinese, 1942) 

Li Shan (Chinese, b.1942) is a painter and prominent figure in the Political Pop movement that developed in China in the 1990s. He is best known for his portraits of Mao Zedong set against a background of blue, pink, or green color and often accompanied by a lotus flower. Born in Heilongjiang Province, Li studied oil painting at the Shanghai Drama Institute before establishing his place on the Shanghai art scene. Beginning in the late 1970s, Li rejected Socialist Realism, a style popular among his contemporaries, and distinguished his own work as self-expressive and politically critical. His most famous series of paintings, entitled Rouge and started in the late 1980s, depicts stylized figures, abstract flowers, and portraits of Mao reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s screenprints of the same subject. Li parodies the leader’s image cultivated through his propaganda posters by presenting him as a frivolous, feminine character. In his recent series Reading from 2005, Li digitally composed images of insects and plants from parts of the human body, alluding to the role of ethics in today’s bio-scientific experiments. Li’s work has been exhibited at the 1993 Venice Biennale, the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, among other institutions. He currently lives and works in Shanghai.

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Li Shan, The Aborigenes


Li Shan
The Aborigenes
Alisan Fine Arts
Li Shan, Origins-Hemudu Culture 1


Li Shan
Origins-Hemudu Culture 1
Alisan Fine Arts
Past auction results (246)  View All
Li Shan, 阅读系列 (Reading series)


Li Shan
阅读系列 (Reading series), 2001
acrylic on canvas


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Li Shan, 生命系列1号 (Life series no. 1)


Li Shan
生命系列1号 (Life series no. 1), 1995
oil on canvas


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Li Shan, Rouge series


Li Shan
Rouge series, 2005
oil and silkscreen on canvas


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1942   Born in Lanxi County, Heilongjiang Province, China
1963   Studies at the University of Heilongjiang, China
1964 - 1968   Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Drama, Arts Department (oil painting), Shanghai, China
1969   Works in a military farm in Zhejiang Province, China
1985 - 1994   Lecturer at the Art Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Drama, Shanghai, China
  Currently living in Shanghai, China
2012   Important Contemporary Chinese Artists by Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong International Art Fair, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong
2009   Shanghai Art Fair-Special Project, China
2009   Shanghai History in Making from 1979 till 2009-curator: Biljana Circ 436 Jumen Rd.
2009   Art 40 Basel: Group Exhibition Art Fairs Basel, Switzerland
2009   Yi Pai - Century Thinking A Contemporary Art Exhibition: Group Exhibition Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
2009   CIGE 2009, Art Fair, China World Trade Centre, Beijing, China
2008   Blackbridge 08' Contemporary Art Exhibition: Group Exhibition, ArtGallery Blackbridge, Beijing, China
2008   FIAC 2008, Grand Palais, Paris, France
2008   Shanghai Art Fair, China
2008   Accumulations–The Spirit of the East: Group Exhibition, Asia Art Center, Beijing, China
2006   The Pumpkin Project - Li Shan & Zhang Pingjie Bio-Art Exhibition: Solo Exhibition, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, China
2006   85 New Wave - The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art: Group Exhibition, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
2006   Strategy on Paper - Works on Paper Invitational Exhibition: Group Exhibition Square Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nanjing, China
2005   Ding - Photoworks 2003-2005: Solo Exhibition, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai China
2004   Li Shan: Small new works, ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai
2004   The Wall-Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, University at Buffalo Art Galleries, Buffalo, New York, USA; Millennium Art Museum, Beijing
2003   Open Sky, Grand Opening of Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China
2003   Dajia-Studies on Design from Contemporary Art, Museum of Fudan University, Shanghai, China
2002   Reading, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, China
2002   Paris-Pekin, Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris, France
2000   Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
1998 - 2000   Inside Out: New Chinese Art, Asia Society Galleries, New York; Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, NY, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, CA, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Monterrey, Mexico; Tacoma Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA, USA; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
1994   Building the Rouge Empire: Paintings from 1976-1992, Alisan Fine Arts at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong; Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1993   Chinese Art: Post 1989, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong; Sydney, Australia; New York, U.S.A.
1993   The 45th Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy
1993   Chinese Art: Post-1989, Marlborough Gallery, London, Great Britain
1992   Begegnung mit den Anderen, Projektgruppe Stoffwechsel, Dokumenta Kassel und Hamm; Munich; Germany
1990   Solo exhibition at the Shanghai Academy of Drama, Shanghai, China
1989   Contemporary Chinese Art, China Art Museum, Beijing, China
1989   7 Modern Painters from the People's Republic of China, Galerie Werner Melletin, Cologne, Germany
1988   2nd Concave/Convex Installation Exhibition, organised with sculptor Yu Shen, Shanghai, China
1987   A State of Transition: Contemporary Painting From Shanghai, organised by Alisan Fine Arts at The Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
1986   Grand Opening Exhibition at Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China
1986   1st Concave/Convex Installation Exhibition, organised with sculptor Yu Shen, Shanghai, China
1986   9th Exhibition of the Japanese Artists Group, Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan
1983   Stage '83: Painting Experiments, Futan University, Shanghai, China
1982   Painting the Chinese Dream: Chinese Art 30 years after the Revolution, Smith College, Northampton Ma.; City Hall, Boston, Ma.; Brooklyn Museum, New York, U.S.A.
  Shenzhen Art Museum, China
  Heilongjiang Art Gallery, China
  Private collections in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Great Britain, USA