The Year in London

London through the eyes of an MA student new to the city

Li Songsong at Pace Gallery, Burlington Gardens


Currently this gallery is exhibiting the first London show of Chinese artist Li Songsong’s paintings.

The work draws upon history and politics, yet at the same time also appears to depict ordinary, everyday scenes. This blurs distinctions between the private and public, reminding us that the political is invested in – and affects – the ordinary.

The paintings are on a monumental scale, and are created using thickly applied acrylic paint and found objects such as metal sheets. This makes them appealing from many angles and creates curious textures. It also divides the subjects into multiple  planes or sections in a way that fragments the realism that is portrayed in many of the paintings, both controlling the subject matter and making it harder to see. This fragmentation could even allude to newspaper columns and the way events are manipulated by the media. It is up to the viewer to piece the visual clues together and extract the narratives.

The exhibition is only on for one more week.

2 thoughts on “Li Songsong at Pace Gallery, Burlington Gardens

  1. The painting of people at the beach is really nice. It has a nostalgic quality to it. The way she used different textures and colors within the image is also quite interesting. I like you you describe the art as being both “political and ordinary”. That’s always a challenge in art, giving seemingly ordinary things deeper (or ulterior) meanings.

    • I agree, it is quite a nostalgic painting. The way it plays with light and colour gives a very ephemeral feeling and it is as though we are looking at a patchwork of someone’s memories. Grayson Perry’s latest Reith lecture has looked at contemporary art’s struggle for deeper meaning by exploring binary tensions between sincerity/irony, and shock/acceptance/desensitisation.

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