Tianbing Li (b.1974, China)

Tianbing Li builds bridges between East and West by merging motifs and techniques from traditional Chinese painting with elements of western iconography. Exploring a wide variety of different painting techniques, the artist finds subtle ways to express his socio-critical views on contemporary Chinese society.

In his most recent “My Other Childhood” series Tianbing Li is addressing China’s one-child policy from a different angle. Many of these large-scale portraits show the artist with his imaginary brother. Li used two photographs of himself taken at different ages and combined them on one canvas. The artist describes his own childhood as very bleak and lonely lacking playmates and toys, so by creating imaginary siblings on the canvas or by adding colourful toys Li can reinvent the past and relive his – now improved – childhood. Tianbing Li puts great emphasis on an emotional and artistic approach to his works despite their socio-critical content. He is therefore not constructing overly complex paintings but creates atmospheric pieces, which enable the viewer to access the works emotionally.

Li has deliberately not confined himself to a single painting style as he feels that it is only through stylistic variations that he is able to explore the boundaries of the medium. This approach also reflects the artist’s cultural background, rooted in the Eastern philosophy that all things are in a constant state of flux. The ongoing advancement of the “self” thus finds its reflection in Tianbing Li’s ever-changing artistic expression.

Li, Tianbing b.1974

related artists / China / Far East