The title of the sculpture exhibition, Looking for Spiritual Space, suggests Taiwan artist Li Zhen's inner contemplation of Buddha and nature.
Now on at the National Art Museum of China, the exhibition displays some 30 pieces of Li's bronze sculptures. Polished in silver gloss, most of the works are based on such Buddhist images as Sakyamuni and the Goddess of Mercy.
Ranging from half-a-meter to three meters in height, the works look imposing and convey a feeling of auspiciousness. The sculptures are done in different poses - some standing, some sitting and yet others lying down.
Li has done a lot of research on Buddhist and Taoist classics. Combining his comprehension of tradition and modern techniques, he comes up with his own personal sculptural language. Simple compositions and a streamlined design make for an integral whole.
The works are imbued with a philosophical spirit and a sense of meditation.
For his representative work Avalokitesvara Rides on a Dragon, which was created in 2001, Li employed round-modeling and symmetrical composition. The surface of the sculpture is glazed black, transmitting both heavy and light effects. Avalokitesvara, Goddess of Mercy, opens up his arms to embrace the sky, the earth and all human beings. His gesture is full of momentum while his facial expression is calm and warm. Under his feet, the strength of dragon is vividly executed. Stepping on pearls, lotuses and auspicious clouds, the dragon and its master transcends through space and time.
Born in 1963, Li made traditional Buddhist sculptures in his early years. Many of his works have been selected for international art shows around the world.
9 am-5 pm, until May 11
National Art Museum of China, 1 Wusi Dajie, Dongcheng District
(China Daily 05/03/2008 page 6)