Artworks by Li Shan

Rouge 58 by Li Shan

115 x 199 cm
Oil on Canvas

Li Shan


Li Shan is a painter and prominent figure in the Political Pop movement that developed in China in the 1990s. Born in 1942, Li Shan graduated from the Shanghai Drama Institute in 1968 and lived through the struggles of the Cultural Revolution that have so drastically impacted the subject of many of the most famous artists of his generation.

His most famous series of paintings, entitled Rouge, started in the late 1980s, depicting stylized figures, abstract flowers, and portraits of Mao Zedong reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s screenprints of the same subject.

Li Shan’s development as an artist during this period was heavily constrained – permitted to only work within the context of propaganda, folk art, and Mao portraits. The technical training Li Shan received during the 1960s was influenced by the socialist realism imported form the Soviet bloc, and further inhibited the range of topics Li Shan could explore.


1982 Painting the Chinese Dream: Chinese Art 30 years after the Revolution, Smith College, Northampton Ma.; City Hall, Boston, Ma.; Brooklyn Museum, New York, U.S.A.
1983 Stage ’83: Painting Experiments, Futan University, Shanghai, China
1986 Grand Opening Exhibition at Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China
1986 1st Concave/Convex Installation Exhibition, organised with sculptor Yu Shen, Shanghai, China
1986 9th Exhibition of the Japanese Artists Group, Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan
1987 A State of Transition: Contemporary Painting From Shanghai, organised by Alisan Fine Arts at The Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
1988 2nd Concave/Convex Installation Exhibition, organised with sculptor Yu Shen, Shanghai, China
1989 Contemporary Chinese Art, China Art Museum, Beijing, China
1989 7 Modern Painters from the People’s Republic of China, Galerie Werner Melletin, Cologne, Germany
1990 Solo exhibition at the Shanghai Academy of Drama, Shanghai, China
1992 Begegnung mit den Anderen, Projektgruppe Stoffwechsel, Dokumenta Kassel und Hamm; Munich; Germany
1993 Chinese Art: Post 1989, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong; Sydney, Australia; New York, U.S.A.
1993 The 45th Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy
1993 Chinese Art: Post-1989, Marlborough Gallery, London, Great Britain
1994 Building the Rouge Empire: Paintings from 1976-1992, Alisan Fine Arts at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
1998-00 Inside Out: New Chinese Art, Asia Society Galleries, New York; Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, NY, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, CA, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Monterrey, Mexico; Tacoma Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA, USA; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
2000 Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong; ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, China; Paris-Pekin, Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris
2003 Dajia-Studies on Design from Contemporary Art, The Museum of Fudan University, Shanghai Open Sky, Grand Opening of Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai
2005 Li Shan: Small new works, ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai