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Li Chevalier

ART IN BETWEEN

BY OBSERVING THE WORKS CREATED OVER TIME BY LI CHEVALIER, THE CRITICAL MEMORY RISKS LOSING ITSELF IN A LABYRINTH OF STYLISTIC REFERENCES AND ICONS THAT FAIL TO ACCOUNT FOR THE ESSENCE OF HER WORK, THE AXIS OF INTERPRETATION MOVING TOWARDS UNSUSPECTED CREATIVE HORIZONS. BY TAKING DIFFERENT MENTAL APPROACHES, LI DRIFTS AWAY FROM THE STEREOTYPES OF ORIENTAL PRECIOSITY, WHICH SHE TRANSCENDS THROUGH HER GESTURES, MIXTURES, ECLECTICISM AND PATHOS.

Portrait Li Chevalier Atelier

The artist has lived in Europe, more precisely in France, since the second half of the 1980s. The dramatic events in China at that time clearly decided her to base her creative work on a dream world, full of oriental drift, forms, landscapes that feed partly on Zen culture and painting; an aesthetics that is absorbed and then extended between two continents, which also benefits from a precise technique and great inventive skills which, in our opinion, are characteristic of the artist’s training at the Saint Martin’s Central College of Arts and Design London.

But beside the sign, there is an equally clear intrusion of philosophy – thought – into the visual field of her art.

But beside the sign, there is an equally clear intrusion of philosophy – thought – into the visual field of her art.

The harmonious and restrained gesture has been strengthened over the years, especially since the first decade of this century; all this led her to collaborate later with French philosophers such as Luc Ferry and resulted in the introduction into her art practice of a constructive approach that is clearly more personal and autonomous. An explicit example of her new way of understanding and creating is represented by works exhibited between 2010 and 2013 in her major monographic exhibitions in China, the National Art Museum of China (2010), Today Art Museum, Beijing (2010), Shanghai Art Museum (2011), and the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) China (2013). In the measured rhythm of her creations, more and more coherent inks are superimposed on previously decidedly more “minimalist” works: while the sign, in its sincerity and gestural expressiveness, seems to be treated and filtered by a stylistic definition that is a little more European, a little less oriental. Moreover, it could not be otherwise for an artist who decided to live and work in the furrow between two parallel cultural and geographical shores, while inclining obliquely towards the European side, even if at first glance it is not so obvious.

The Western stamp adopted in the experimentation with different hues for structural purposes does not generate confusion and does not contradict the return of Chevalier to the Chinese ink culture, which is however revisited with a decidedly European capacity of composition, in our opinion revealing the intellectual obstinacy of the artist. This deep love of two cultures, between her roots and her new environment, has led Chevalier to participate in the new artistic movement “Experimental ink painting“, clearly identified in the text on the artist by François Jullien in 2014, entitled >Ink and in between<.

Thus she creates an art between east and west, with visual references and regrets that go beyond the indicated division and lead the artist, especially in recent years, to enrich and broaden her visual search, in installations marked by a strong poetic inspiration and a decisive emotional impact; as in the case of Cantabile per Archi (2013), a work inspired by music from the Latvian composer Peteris Vasks, a forest of violins with superimposed signs, lettering, words and paper soaked in ink, life and art – in a seductive version specially created, completely revised and “tailor made ” for the MACRO Testaccio in Rome.

We are facing an installation which embodies the entire aspiration of Chevalier: its form, its language, its structure and its construction of signs are combined in her program of overcoming the sterile globalizing modernity with the obvious intention of stemming the drift of art, or rather of the arts, through the impact of theatrical staging, sound, and image, to recreate an intrinsic artistic and emotional experience.

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Art historian, art curator in charge of exhibitions and major events at the Contemporary Art Museum Rome (MACRO ) , Claudio Crescentini is specialised in multilingualism and medievalism in the arts of the XX-XXI century; he has dedicated his career to researches on Renaissance art and published numerous collections and studies on Michelangelo, Raffaello, Piero della Francesca and others figures of the period. He was nomi-nated Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, With research works on “Pope Pius II Piccolomini” (2003) and “Andrea Bregno” (2006). He is a member of the management commit-tee of “HUMANISTICS”, an International review on early renaissance arts. He is the scientific director of the editorial “Rinnovamenti”, on Renaissance studies and co-curator of the “Rome Architecture ” review . Among the first scholars interested in the iconological relationship between contemporary arts and food, he is the author of several publications, among which: Food for art : Dietary Routes of Contemporary Art (2000); “The Twentieth Century at table by Duchamp and Chirico (2001); The twentieth century around a table from Chirico to Warhol (2002). He also co-studied and co-conducted the SKY A Table with Art (2000-2002) television program and published numerous volumes on Giorgio de Chirico’s and other catalogs of exhibitions. He edited the European Convention on the Artist in 2002. He has also attended exhibitions and contemporary art exhibitions, among others: NOW art before the future (Rome, Rimini, Seoul, London 2013-2015); Marisa and Mario Merz (Roma 2016); William Kentridge (Roma 2016). In collaboration with Paolo De Grandis, he co-curates the Installation project “From The Venice Biennale to MACRO. International perspective”

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