Li Chen: Mind • Body • Spirit

November 15, 2009 at 10:00 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Having seen the works of Taiwanese artist Li Chen 李真 at the Singapore Management University ground in mid September, I went to see the full exhibition nearly a month ago. This post is delayed partly due to heavy work schedule and partly cos I felt my pictures did not turn out well and was hoping to get a chance to reshoot them. But well, I think I should share some of the works that I like in case I don’t have the time to revisit the exhibit.

As a self-taught artist, Li Chen began his career by producing traditional Buddhist sculptures. His breakthrough came in the 1990s, where he fused Zen thoughts, deepened through his study of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, with contemporary art practice. At the Singapore Art Museum courtyard, Itchyfingers had a wonderful time looking at the many beautiful works that really made me smile. 🙂 I think I can just sit that the whole afternoon admiring them… :p

snow-wonderland1
Snow Wonderland 雪峰仙踪 – “The Taoist sage is seen leaping across the peak
of the mountain, making his celestial sojourn in a confident mode”

buddha-in-cloud
This is so cute – The Buddha in the Cloud 云中一如来. The Buddha is standing
on top of a mountain with his head sticking out of a white cloud 😀 The cloud
actually represents a pair of wings

mist-cloud
Cultivated by Mist and Cloud 烟云供养. I really like Li Chen’s work, cos the
sculptures are big and heavy, yet they gave a sense of lightness, like this one,
it is as if the figure is ‘cloud skating’..hahah…so light and elegant..This is
inspired by dance music of the ethnic minorities

golden-rain
Golden Rain 黄金雨 depicts a boy gazing skyward while holding a small
collection of golden ‘raindrops’ as the last rays of the setting sun disappear
across the horizon…heee very cute

golden-rain2
So peaceful looking… 🙂

egret
Egret’s Spring 白鹭的春天. This may not be among my favourites but it has
an environmental message – protection and care for the environment so
that man may coexist with nature in perfect harmony


Siddhartha 法界游子. “Siddhartha is the founder of Buddhism, who blesses
and protects the pure in heart. Also known as Sakyamuni, he is an
embodiment of love, purity and sincere honesty. The figure of Siddhartha
assumes a sitting position, holding a child and a stalk of lotus in hand.
To the artist, the child in the hand represents the self in every viewer.
Afterall, everyone was a child before.”

ava
Avalokitesvara 大士 has strong Buddhist theme. The rotund figure holds a
vase in the left hand and a seal in the right, standing with arms outstretched,
ready to embrace his followers

dragon-riding
Yet another figure with open arms, as if welcoming visitors at the entrance
of the museum. Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士骑龙 is the biggest work in
this exhibition. Simply magnificent!

Just opposite the road above the work-in-progress Bras Basah MRT station was this fiery red sculpture that was not there earlier.

fire
Lord of Fire 火神. Here the artist explored the relationship between the
five elements and the forces of nature. The figure of a bright red flame dances
above the black ‘charcoal’

wind
Lord of Wind 风神. My picture turned out bad…too windy cannot hold
camera still…hahahah…

fulfillment
Fulfillment Bodhisattva 文殊菩萨, an example of the artist’s exploration
of alternative interpretation of traditional Buddhist them scuplture

all-in-one
All in One 合十, yet another example…

These few works at the SMU ground had a very child like, carefree feel,
which I like very much…

floating
Floating Heavenly Palace 天阙轻舟 is inspired by a poem by Song Dynasty
poet. I love the small details like the hand in the pocket… :p

float
Float to Sukhavati 飞行乐士 made me wanna sleep too… 😀

pureland
Pureland 无忧国土

clear-soul
Clear Soul 无心海. I found it so tough to take a nice picture of this… 😦

landscape
Landscape in Heaven 天界山水…wow 有山有水..very good feng shui…hahah
The golden mountain and the silver sea represent the materialistic lifestyle.
But the chase of these materialism often leaves one with a sense of emptiness
and loss of direction. To the artist, “the perfect life encompasses not only
the satisfaction of material needs but also the pursuit of an inner spiritual life.”

landscape2
The same sculpture in the original environment. Actually it is a bit apt to
place these buddhism-inspired works here, cos after scrutinising my bad
photos, I think some trees on the SMU ground look like the Ficus Religiosa,
or the Bo Tree (菩堤树), commonly believed to be the tree where Sakyamuni
attained enlightenment…will check them out again if I have the chance…

Moving over to the National Museum ground, the artist gave yet another surprise. The style seems a little different from the rest, yet the same full bodied figures suggest that they all came from the same artist…

5elements
Five Elements 五行 consist of five sculptures positioned at the five cardinal
points on a Chinese Feng Shui compass

5elements2
At first I thought this is a bear…hahah…but the stripes suggest it should be
a tiger. Very cute… :p

Itchyfingers love most of these work and would strongly recommend everyone to go visit the exhibit and spend some time admiring each of them as our pictures do not do justice to these beautiful works. :p The exhibition is on-going till 9 Decemeber 2009. 🙂

Also see related post:
> Oriental Beauty


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