Li Songsong (Chinese, b.1973) is a historical painter known for his depictions of modern Chinese history. He was born in Beijing, graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1982, and earned his BFA in Oil Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He was one of the first artists to set up a studio in the 798 Art District in Beijing in 2002.
Li gets inspiration from newspapers, films, the Internet, books, and magazines. His paintings are often political, but Li doesn't consider himself to be a political painter; however, he has openly admitted to being influenced by Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b.1957), a politically outspoken artist. Li instead considers his work unbiased, with the deconstructed images inviting interpretation on all levels. He is considered to be a member of the Chinese in-between generation and is too young to remember the rulership of Mao Zedong but old enough to remember the uprising in Tiananmen Square. Li was a student in high school at the time. His work is designed to elicit emotion and employs more than a little cognitive dissonance. The images can be jarring to some, but his goal is to create a realistic picture, albeit warped so that violence doesn't end up as such but instead on the contrary. He considers each painting a story, and he uses his technique to tell the story.
Li has a unique artistic technique, taking the images he sees and warping them in layer upon layer of paint. The work is Abstract and ambiguous in meaning, which is Li's intent. While creating an artwork, Li is known to listen to music, which he considers to be indispensable to his creative process. He is very methodical in his work, with the sections completed from top left to bottom right using brushes only. Some of his famous paintings include The Decameron, The Beast, and Peach Garden. His works have been featured in Pace Gallery in New York, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in China, Saatchi Gallery in London, and Berkeley Art Museum in California.