Past Exhibitions

Becoming Harmonious: The Art of Li Hongwei


Artist Li Hongwei
Curator Wang wei
From November 10, 2022 to February 26, 2023, the West Wing Gallery of Long Museum (West Bund) will present the solo exhibition of artist Li Hongwei, "Becoming Harmonious- the Art of Li Hongwei", which is his first solo exhibition in museums of China. The exhibition is curated by Wang Wei, director of Long Museum. This exhibition will include the artist’s more than 20 pieces of sculptures and installation works, presents his earlier work “Allegory of Balance” series, the dynamic installation “Rebirth in Breakage”, as well as the continuous “Xuan” series and the “Upwelling of Gravity” series. In addition, Li Hongwei displays his latest work “Beyond the Height”, “Futurism” and “The Origin” series.

Li Hongwei started to draw and create sculptures in his youth. In 2000, he was admitted into the Sculpture Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). In 2005, he went to America and furthered his education in ceramic art at Alfred University, New York, US. Being largely different from dematerialized art, Li Hongwei’s artworks involve the study of porcelain and the exploration of materials. Since 2009, Li Hongwei has experimented with different materials in his sculptures. After repeated explorations, the artist successfully used stainless steel and other materials with modern industrial properties along with ceramic materials in 2014, turning his artistic creation from traditional sculptures centered on the physical forms to the installation art with spatial manifestation. In "Allegory of Balance", the two materials, ceramic and stainless steel, still maintain respective independence. In Li Hongwei's subsequent series of works, "Upwelling of Gravity" and "Xuan," the traditional form and function of ceramic vessels are completely deconstructed; the pearly characteristics of the porcelain itself are harmoniously integrated with the mirror-like shiny surface of stainless steel. Hand-wrought stainless steel is cut and welded according to the irregular shape of the ceramic part; the two materials are perfectly jointed without any sense of incompatibility. The visual contrast between the eye-catching patterns of the crystalline glaze and the simple form of the sculpture greatly enriches the expressive quality of the artwork.

Li Hongwei's artworks metaphorically convey the philosophical examinations of interconnection, opposition, transformation, and symbiotic relationships between different contradictory forces. In his latest work “The Origin” series,he continuedly employ two frequently-used materials——fired porcelain and stainless steel. Those scattered crystalline glazed porcelain and cold stainless steel are coexisting and interdepending, fragmented yet integrated.The Chinese title 混沌, which indicates the origin of the universe, is one integrated whole, and the artist interprets it as an egg, in Chinese, “egg” 蛋 has the identical sound to the word 旦, meaning “the rising sun” and also alludes to诞,meaning “the birth”. Homophony application endows the work with oriental connotations. Its rounded and fluent lines and the smooth reflections of the surface of stainless steel, while the sunlight passing through the West Wing Gallery, add to the work an aesthetic and entertaining sense. 

About the artist

Li Hongwei (b.1980) is a contemporary artist. He works and lives in Beijing and New York. His works have been acquired by The British Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art,  The Israel Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Yale Art Gallery, The Art Complex Museum, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design, Everson Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Tang Teaching Museum, Crocker Art Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Vassar College Art Museum, The Israel Museum, He Art Museum, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. His works have been exhibited in a number of international art institutions, including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Fox Art Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, the Dublin Castle in Ireland, and the US Embassy, etc.
Hongwei holds a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing; a master’s in ceramic art from the New York State College of Ceramics at the Alfred University at Alfred, NY. As a visiting artist, he has been invited to give lectures in different institutions, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
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